Garage (18)

The ViewNewcastle Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner05/03/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 85 mins

Superbly written, impressively directed drama with a terrific central performance from Pat Shortt, Garage confirms Abrahamson as one of Ireland's most exciting new directors.

What's it all about?
Pat Shortt (a famous TV comedian in Ireland but unknown over here) plays Josie, a middle-aged, slightly slow man who works as a garage attendant in an old-fashioned garage on the outskirts of a small Irish town. When his boss (John Keogh) hires 15-year-old David (Conor Ryan) to work with him, Josie is glad of the company and the two begin to bond.

However, though Josie's intentions are entirely innocent, he doesn't really understand boundaries, so he doesn't see any harm in giving David a can of beer after work or letting him watch a porn video that a passing trucker left behind. Similarly, his attempts to deal with his crush on local shop clerk Carmel (Anne-Marie Duff) only get him into further trouble.

The Good
Leonard Abrahamson (who made the little-seen, equally impressive Adam & Paul) directs in a low-key, unhurried fashion that gradually builds a strong sense of tension, particularly when we begin to see how Josie's innocent, trusting nature is likely to cause problems with those around him. As a result, you're constantly on edge, expecting the worst, even if nothing actually happens.

Shortt is terrific as Josie, delivering a complex, detailed performance that is genuinely moving, as he's gradually awakened to a need for human contact. There's also strong support from Conor Ryan as David and from Anne-Marie Duff as Carmel.

The Bad
If the film has a fault, it's only that the tone falters slightly towards the end, teetering on the edge of pretentious symbolism and throwing in unnecessary references to Robert Bresson movies that are unintentionally amusing and rather spoil the emotional impact of the ending.

Worth seeing?
Dodgy symbolism aside, Garage is a thoroughly engaging drama with a terrific central performance from Pat Shortt and it will be fascinating to see what Abrahamson does next. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 24/07/2012 03:44

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