SMALL ENGINE REPAIR Director: NIALL HEERY IRELAND 2006 COLOUR ANAMORPHIC DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO 98 MIN. Book cinema tickets FIRST TIME FEATURE DIRECTOR NIALL HEERY MAKES A STRONG, SELF-ASSURED IMPRESSION WITH SMALL ENGINE REPAIR, AN AFFECTING AND UNDERSTATED COMIC DRAMA ABOUT A FORTY-SOMETHING UNDERACHIEVER IN A SMALL IRISH TOWN WHO WANTS TO ESTABLISH HIMSELF AS A COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER-SONGWRITER. Doug (Iain Glen) is a sad-eyed jack-of-all-trades whose life has become the sort of unhappy slog that often inspires country and western songs. For Doug, who appears to personify the cliche of Irish defeatism, the mournful country ditties are particularly appealing. He loses his job as a forklift operator to an ex-convictthe aptly named Burley (Stuart Graham). And when he catches his wife in flagrante delicto with another guy, he’s the one who gets kicked out of the house, and is forced to accept the hospitality of his buddy Bill (Steven Mackintosh), owner of a none-too-successful small-engine shop. Directing from his own richly layered script, Heery paces his character-driven film like a melancholy ballad, taking time to linger on revealing details and intriguing quirks. (Cinematographer Tim Fleming adroitly enhances the film’s shifting moods.) Glen is credible and compelling as Doug, a man so accustomed to expecting the worst he savours the smallest victories as major triumphs. But the equally splendid Mackintosh lays claim to the film’s most emotionally potent sequence. Near the very end, Bill is left alone to contemplate how much he has lost. Here, too, Heery avoids the obvious, presenting the epiphany with no-frills, dialogue-free simplicity, lingering long enough for the audience to fully appreciate, and perhaps even share, the character’s pain. It’s the kind of pain people write C&W songs about.Joe Leydon/’Variety’. There will be a Q&A with the cast and crew of SMALL ENGINE REPAIR after the 8.50pm screening on Friday 20th July. Director: NIALL HEERY IRELAND 2006 COLOUR ANAMORPHIC DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO 98 MIN.