One of the great independent films of 2003 and one of my personal favorites, "The Station Agent" introduces us to the exceptionally talented Peter Dinklage. Although upon first impression most people will only notice his 4 foot 5 inch frame, his deeply brooding and thoughtful performances rival any actor working today.
Finbar McBride, or Fin, is a solitary man who works at a hobby shop repairing and working with model trains. One day his friend and the stores owner Henry falls over dead, presumably of a heart attack. Fin is lost in despair, Henry however has left him a small but abandoned depot station to him in his will. With nothing tying him down Fin moves into to the
Newfoundland depot station. Just across the way is an oddly placed food
truck called Gorgeous Franks and its lone operator Joe, played by Bobby
Cannavale. Joe is a friendly and
energetic man who's intrigued by Fin arrival.
Although not looking to make friends Fin eventually comes around and allows
him to hang around with him. Also upon
arrival Fin has a few run ins with Olivia, played by Patricia Clarkson. She doesn't make that good a first or second
impression for that matter as she almost runs him over with her car,
twice. Olivia is a friendly but slightly
frantic, painter who is separated from her rich husband, Joe however has had
his eye on her for quite some time.
Writer and director Tom McCarthy creates this world for these characters that is based in small town reality. Fin has a number of encounters with a curious little African American girl as well as a possible girlfriend in the form of the young and beautiful librarian, played by Michelle Williams. Although the heart of the story is the relationship between the three friend Fin, Joe, and Olivia. All are damaged in their own way and looking for something real. Finn fights with loneliness and alienation, while the return of Olivia's husband throws her life into an angry spiral. Joe is full of life and charisma, but misses his son, who lives with his mother. "The Station Agent" is a wonderful film, skillfully acted on all fronts with a deeply heartfelt story of a marginalized man trying to find his place in the world.
Although a lot of people now know Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister on "Game of Thrones", please take a moment to watch "The Station Agent".