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GARAGE

Director: LENNY ABRAHAMSON

IRELAND • 2007 • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 85 MIN


A PRIZE-WINNER AT CANNES, ‘GARAGE’ IS THE FINEST IRISH FILM FOR SOME TIME.
Working once again from a script by Mark O’ Halloran, with whom he has previously collaborated on both ‘Adam and Paul’ and the recent television series ‘Prosperity’, Irish director Lenny Abrahamson has consolidated his early promise and developed a style that is recognisably his own. When married to the rich cadence of O’Halloran’s dialogue, that style—perhaps best described as Beckett meets the Dardenne brothers by way of Robert Bresson—becomes the perfect means for the director to achieve his minutely observed character studies.
A tale of loneliness and alienation in rural Ireland, ‘Garage’ generates its considerable poignancy through focusing on a character that is by turns endearing and pitiable. As the custodian of a dilapidated petrol station, Josie’s life is unencumbered by incident. Regarded as a harmless simpleton by the townsfolk, some of whom take pleasure in mocking his cerebral shortcomings, Josie (Pat Shortt) is nevertheless unflappably good-natured and absurdly optimistic. He finds friendship in the unlikely form of David (Conor J Ryan), a lank-haired schoolboy who is to help out at the garage over the summer. Initially reticent, David comes to form a tacit bond with his innocent colleague, and the two are soon sharing cans with the other local kids down at the railway tracks. A thoughtless act on Josie’s part threatens to endanger them both.
Abrahamson’s portrayal of the insularity of small town living is beautifully rendered, but ‘Garage”s greatest asset is the revelatory performance from comedian Pat Shortt, who fully inhabits the tragic figure of Josie.—David O Mahony.

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