Here we have a real rarity. An Irish film that really evidences an
understanding of the place of film grammar in the art of the cinema.
This rural tragi-comedy looks at a very uncomfortable sliver of the
It is, largely, about the way that the complexities of modern life can render the simple-minded tragically vulnerable. Under normal circumstances I hate - indeed loathe - films that 'overtly' mimic the works of dwarfingly great film makers. I am not sure that Abrahamson (the director) actually sought to mimic the wonderful, indeed sublime cinema of Robert Bresson, but I am sure that that is exactly what comes to mind when the film is watched. Thematically, it has much in common with 'Mouchette' (not best Bresson, but very good Bresson!). Stylistically, it resembles parts of 'L'Argent'! That the above is the case and it still grips and appeals is a great credit to the film makers. But it is not completely 'echt' of course. There are parts of Bresson's magisterial style (his use of close ups, and his total command of sound for example) that are largely missing, but, make no mistake, this is a wonderful piece of cinema.
At the centre of it is the character of Josie, a harmless simpleton, whose guileless sincerity leads him to be the butt of the cruel humour of the would-be sophisticates with whom he shares parts of his rural existence. But fate has an even crueller plan for Josie.
Effortlessly characterised by comedian Pat Shortt, the director's unflinching gaze shows Josie's blameless naiveté in heart-rending detail - his loneliness, his pain at the cruel jibes and his unreasoned optimism.
I really hate the style of cinema that seeks to drag its audience into a slough of despond, but though tragic, 'Garage' doesn't do that, because it retains its clear belief in cinema and its potential to lift the human spirit to undreamed of heights.
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