Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Station Agent

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! The title immediately makes my imagination think up a film about a train station attendant who is actually a secret agent like Jason Bourne.

The Station Agent – 5 out of 5

I first saw this film not long after it came out.  I became aware of it after seeing Peter Dinklage on The Daily Show where he was talking about it.  This was years before Game of Thrones and I had no idea who Dinklage was or that many years later, I would geek the fuck out when he was standing on a balcony over me at San Diego Comic-Con.

Yeah, I probably yelled something like, "I love you, Peter!"

Anyway, he was charismatic and funny with Jon Stewart and really sold me on the film.  I wish I could tell you that I went out to the nearest theater that was showing it right away but it wasn’t playing near me and I was a poor college student at the time when it came out in 2003.  It wasn’t until I would get Netflix (pay me, I said your name) two years later and I was no longer a poor college student but a poor post-college adult with crippling student debt hanging over my head that I was able to see it.  Recently, a fan of the blog made a few requests for reviews and this was one of them.  I was more than happy to revisit The Station Agent.
Look at him...being all charismatic and likable.
Finbar McBride (Peter Dinklage) recently lost his closest friend and found out that he was left a piece of land on an abandoned train depot.  Fin sees this as an opportunity to withdraw from the world and finally find some solitude.  You see, Fin is a quiet introvert with achondroplastic dwarfism and he feels ostracized by the world because of their disrespect for his height and leering glances.  However, it doesn’t seem he’ll find the peace he was seeking as a local food truck operator named Joe (Bobby Cannavale), an artist suffering with relationship problems with her husband stemming from a horrible past named Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), and a librarian named Emily (Michelle Williams) stumble into Fin’s life and make it their mission to coax him out of his shell and form bonds and friendships with the man.
"Look, you don't have to be mad.  I was merely suggesting that we split an
order of nachos..."

For the most part, The Station Agent is a comedy/drama hybrid—a dramedy if you will.  However, that isn’t to say the film is uproariously funny.  I find it more amusing than anything but that isn’t saying it was bad—no, this film is great.  The real strong suit this film has is its simple (and very effective) story that is accented by its drama and acting.  These factors make the film extremely easy to get into and even easier to relate to.  We all have things that set us apart from the crowd so it is easy to understand what the character of Fin is going through.
His eyes are up a little higher, madam!

It’s a fair bet that everyone has walked a mile in Fin’s shoes and have been in a situation where you feel alone and isolated and wanted to just crawl into a dark hole that you can make your own and be at peace in only to have someone forcefully insert themselves into your life and try to be buddies with you.  Hell, in today’s day and age of social media, this most likely takes the form of someone constantly trying to add you on Facebook or always retweeting your tweets after they started following you.  Like Fin, this might ruffle your feathers or annoy you but sometimes that’s how friendships start.  Shit, I have a friendship that started with him and I insulting each other but it somehow morphed into a full-blown friendship.  That’s the heart of Fin’s story that I enjoy so much. Seeing Fin realize that there are people who don’t see him as a spectacle walking down the street and genuinely are out to be his pal is easily identifiable and, while it can pull on the heartstrings more than once during the running time, it’s a extremely satisfying story to take in and one that doesn’t age (even though it is a little weird seeing a young Tyrion Lannister now).
Fin just realized that Joe has a Playboy hidden in his book.

As I stated, this was the first time I saw Peter Dinklage in a movie or a show (I never realized that was him as the wake up service on that episode of Seinfeld so that doesn’t count) and I was blown away with his acting.  Fin doesn’t say much in the film beyond short answers or replies to those around him but the way he says them and the way he presents himself speaks volumes and really showed that Dinklage had a raging ball of uncut talent inside him.  Dinklage is able to express so much with his body language and you’re able to perfectly understand what Fin is going through with no more than a single word or an unspoken glance.  In fact, Dinklage can make silence speak louder than any dialogue or exposition this movie throws at you.
Of course, if you pause the movie at the right time, Dinklage looks downright evil.

Peter Dinklage isn’t the only talent this film has going for it.  The Station Agent isn’t one of those films that is a one trick pony where they have a single great lead at the forefront and the rest of the cast is just there doing their best to be passable or phone it in. 
"Me?  Phone it in?  Get outta here...seriously, get out of here!"
 Bobby Cannavale is incredible amusing as Joe and is able to showcase an innocence of a boy trapped in a man’s body that desperately wants to be Fin’s new BFF.  Patricia Clark does a tremendous job of playing the woman who is doing everything she can to hide her pain only to discover that there is a new comer in her life that she can vent her tragedy to.  Finally, when you combine these three main players, you have a group of unlikely friends that showcase a real chemistry onscreen and really come off like real-life buddies and not just actors playing friends.
That's not a cigarette...

The Station Agent spring-boarded Peter Dinklage into the spotlight…and into my heart.  Even watching the film about a decade after first watching it, the movie still holds strong.  The acting is very solid and extremely realistic, and the story is timeless.  Overall, a great movie that doesn’t hurt to revisit from time to time.


  1. Please do all the requests I sent you and thank you big time for this review Ron. Glad you loved the movie.

    1. No problem. It's a great movie I don't mind revisiting!

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