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32 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

A man who may understand more than he wants to

8/10
Author: Fogo
30 May 2008

Josie has been assigned the roles in life of pumping petrol and being the village idiot. He qualifies for the former role by being loyal to his boss, diligent about his work tasks, and friendly to the customers. He qualifies for the latter role because of some sort of mild mental disability that makes him slow to process ideas and not too good at standing up for himself. In fact he's not that stupid - one gets the impression that he was a slow child whom people got into the habit of talking down to, but that he understands more than other people acknowledge or that he even acknowledges himself.

People like Josie are litmus tests for distinguishing bullies from people who are fundamentally decent. The bullies, both teenagers and adults, treat him as if he doesn't even understand the cruel remarks they direct towards him. The people of conscience don't mock him because they know he can't respond in kind, and they recognise that he is capable of being hurt. However their kindness can only go so far: they can't engage with Josie as equals, they can't talk to him about relationships or children or careers, and the weather and the news of the town provide only a minute or two of conversational material.

Even more uncomfortable to watch than his treatment by the bullies is the use people make of him as a confidant of last resort. They unburden their hearts to him in the assumption that he has nothing better to do than listen to them, and expecting from him the kind of unconditional sympathy one would get from a pet dog. There is no reciprocation, nobody asks him how he is getting on, so Josie's unhappiness remains unarticulated beneath the conventional cheeriness that he presents to the world and the world expects of him.

The action of this slow moving film can be said to be driven by the intrusions of the wider world into a rural community. Josie's livelihood is threatened by economic development, and his role as the village idiot is threatened, if that's an appropriate word, by the dilution of the community with "blow ins". Being a village idiot is a cruel and marginal existence for Josie, but it does mean that when he takes a wrong turn, people have a ready explanation for his actions, and can be quite tactful and kind in nudging him back in the right direction. When the village fills up with more and more people who haven't known Josie since birth, his behaviour is in danger of being interpreted in a different way.

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33 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

poignant and touching snapshot of Irish life.....

9/10
Author: neil garvey from Ireland
12 October 2007

Garage arrives at a great time for Irish cinema. The output and standard of Irish film is at an all time low with an exception like Adam and Paul, a film from the same people that made Garage. Writer Mark O Halloran is a sure hand at capturing the subtle nuances of everyday Irish life. In his previous outing Adam and Paul he delved in to the world of two strung out Dublin heroin addicts. In Garage we join Josie in his hum drum existence as a petrol station attendant in a nameless provincial Irish village. Josie is not the sharpest tool in the box but his cheery demeanor aids the viewer in being won over by him.

Pat Short in his first dramatic role subverts his usual comic representation of the country redneck by infusing his portrayal of Josie with great pathos and genuine humor. Short has altered his stride in more ways than one here, totally changing his gait and physicality to become the character of Josie. It is an excellent performance from Short and as an Irish man who has been exposed to his previous life as simply a comic performer, a revelation.

Leonard Abrahamson who also directed Adam and Paul has made a film that is visually beautiful. The local shop, the quiet village street and the starkly beautiful Irish countryside punctuate the film creating a strong sense of place for the audience. These also serve to bring us in to the numbing routine of Josie's daily existence. He lives in terrible conditions but he blames no one and trudges on until closing time each day. Abrahamson revels in the everyday and the ordinary in Garage. Two men smoking outside a pub, a shop worker chatting to Josie outside her shop; these everyday scenes are woven in to the tapestry of Garage and in turn made in to something extraordinary.

Garage is a wonderful movie. Abrahamson as director and O Halloran as writer have made the best two Irish films of the last ten years in 'Adam and Paul' and 'Garage'. Finally I would just like to mention the great Tom Murphy who co starred in Adam and Paul as he just recently passed away. He will be sorely missed.

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23 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

This movie was amazing!

10/10
Author: RLuciano-OneClickFilms from United States
21 March 2008

This movie is visually stunning in design, almost like a moving painting. Pat Shortt who plays Josie, is just absolutely brilliant! His sense of purity and sincerity is consistently communicated. I have not been able to stop talking about the film since I watched it, and NEED to watch it again.

A quick comment on it's pacing. For me, a movie doesn't have to continually stimulate me to keep my attention. If the characters are riveting and the story movies at it's OWN pace, and not with my expectations, that's the whole goal. We are so commercialized with our expectations when it comes to movies, we've forgotten to just go along with it. Garage is a movie you just go along with. The Josie character is so sweet and pure, it's difficult not to have him affect you.

There are several topics I could bring up with regards to this movie, but one that stands out. How difficult it really must be for someone challenged. This movie is a microscopic look into this world. We talk about how alone we are in the world. But imagine having a disability in the process. This movie paints one perspective of what I would imagine it's like.

The overwhelming thing I noticed, was no one was helpful to Josie. As a human being, this disturbed me greatly! This movie shows perfectly, how amazing the world would be, if we just made a little effort, to help one another. Such little effort, to make such a big impact.

For someone to not understand and feel what Josie is going through, only supports the apathy that has seeded itself in our current lifestyles, and society as a whole to date.

RL

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24 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

beautiful exceptional but sparse filming

10/10
Author: teresa_ewart from london, england
22 March 2008

I'm English but I lived in Ireland for 6 years until recently. Do not be fooled, Ireland today is not the vibrancy of Dublin or the bite of the Celtic tiger - like any country it is a mixture that has it's fair share of sad, empty and lonely places. This film attempts to portray this - and succeeds quite beautifully. The filmmakers are also "responsible" for the brilliant Adam and Paul -a snapshot of the struggle to live in modern day Dublin with a shocking drug habit... and Garage is no different - a few days in a life that tell us so much but share so little. The dialogue is sparse at best, just a nod and a smile to indicate friendship. The tiny visual clues show us one man's life in pictures - his lonely dinner (he bought one pork chop from the butcher) his wash in a sink. This film is one of those that is nothing and everything. I can't recommend it highly enough. Watch it and feel grateful that your life is full and vibrant. That it doesn't end with your putting your socks in your shoes...

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18 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant but bleak.

7/10
Author: come2whereimfrom from United Kingdom
27 March 2008

Garage is a strange film, good but strange, its one of those films that can hold your attention despite nothing much really happening. It focuses on Josie, played by Pat Shortt, a garage attendant who isn't the shiniest tool in the box, he's harmless enough but his naivety means he is the butt of jokes and lives a very lonely existence. The town is small and everyone knows everyone and with no real friends Josie grasps at any interaction from talking to the local horse, his fleeting chats to long distance lorry driver Dan and to the blokes in the pub despite the fact they are obviously horrible to him. But it's when he gets David as his new young assistant at the garage that things start to change. Saddled with his own problems, adolescence, alienation, isolation and growing pains, David and Josie strike up a friendship, David thinks Josie is brilliant as he supplies him with beers after work and for Josie it's just someone to talk with but the seemingly harmless relationship starts to take a darker turn. With a script that is at times equal in its ability to make you laugh and feel uncomfortable the film is one which will not sit easy with some audiences, ultimately its bleakness may be a little too much for some. That said all the performances are great and while showing how the simple life can be complicated it also shows how beautiful the country Ireland is, but it's really all about the crippling loneliness that can affect us as humans and Shortt's mannerisms and portrayal are startling and in this respect it really is his film. Add to this the subtlety and calmingly paced direction and you have a gem of a movie that leaves a bitter but brilliant taste.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Desolation and boredom surprisingly plays a very supporting role in this movie.

8/10
Author: tlooknbill from New Braunfels, Texas
9 March 2010

Believe me this is the most slow paced, void of dialog, boring independent-ish film I've ever seen. It makes Sling Blade look like an action flick. I was watching it to fight off insomnia one late night. Unfortunately it didn't work because after sticking with it to the end I was blown away by how the depiction of desolate rural Ireland life actually drove the story and gave deep meaning to the unbelievable end.

So don't get discouraged and grab that remote because you're so bored with this movie you just can't watch another minute because the deadpan, eventless story line really does say something about our society and modern life in a way that creeps up on you and slaps you in the face and makes you think.

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17 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

My impressions of Garage

6/10
Author: clint-thrust from Ireland
5 May 2008

Garage is Lenny Abrahamson's 2007, award winning, (Prix Art et Essai) Irish drama, starring Pat Shortt. Shortt plays Josie, a simple, tragic character, that lives in and runs the garage in a Tipperary backwater, owned by his former schoolmate, Mr. Gallagher. His life changes over the course of one Summer, when Gallagher introduces him to a boy named David, his new workmate, and a flawed relationship begins to develop. The acting is the most realistic I've ever seen. Every character in this film is taken straight from real life. They might be fictional characters, but each and every one of them exist in villages and towns throughout Ireland. Josie might seem precious and quaint, but there are thousands out there exactly like him. Each role is played to almost frightening accuracy. The Garda, played by Denis Conway, was so real in his attitude and all his dialogue, that it sent chills up my spine. It was acted in an unnaturally close manner to that of a real Garda. The plot doesn't really go very far. It starts in much the same place as it finishes. Although, perhaps it finishes more poignantly than it starts, the poignancy lies in the character of Josie himself and is present throughout the film. Peter Robertson, the Director of Photography, did a superb job. The cinematography is excellent. It's all perfectly framed and captures a certain beauty of location, without losing any realism. Living in a similar location to where this was filmed, I can personally vouch for the accuracy of every aspect of this film. It's amazing. That, funnily enough, was my main reason for disliking this film. I watch films to escape from that sad reality, and it really isn't all that pleasant to have such a close to the bone film in front of your eyes. That was also why I hated Pat Shortt's comedy series, Killinascully. Indeed there are quite a few actors from Killinascully in Garage. People from my area (mainly tractor driving hicks) see things like Killinascully and take them as an instruction manual for life, rather than a comedy series mocking them. So, the main strength of this film, it's realism, is also, for me, it's greatest weakness. I really must congratulate the director on his accuracy, which was outstanding but not appealing to me. I'd say, if you want to know what rural Ireland is really like, watch this. If you live there, just go outside. Or preferably don't. I would recommend seeing this if just for seeing Pat Shortt in a non comedic role. It's a hugely interesting film that deserves to be taken very seriously. I just didn't find it a pleasure to watch. I'm giving it a 6 out of 10, but I'm certain it deserves more.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Nothing short of a masterpiece

10/10
Author: (michael-heathcote3) from Hampshire, England
19 April 2010

Garage is a simple slice of realism that is filmed to perfection. It looks so small, so parochial, so realistic that some may think in the first few minutes that it's pointless making into a film. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, that's for certain. But if you are a cinema lover and love depth and meaning as much as action, then this Irish masterpiece is a must! It is the study of the central character that gives the film its real point, its purpose. It reveals this very slowly, but surely, typically Irish, and the whole thing, the story, the atmosphere, the pace, the acting, the whole lot looks authentic. The central performance by Shortt is Oscar worthy. At times the film is painful to watch because it is so brutally honest in its depiction of Josie and his difficult, empty life.

The film on the surface looks very simple, very small, but you can bet there is a lot of cinematic knowledge that's helped achieve this. The writer and director have undoubtedly watched a lot of world cinema, Mainly French, maybe a bit of German - another reviewer mentioned the similarity of Bresson, I don't know his work well enough, but I thought of Fassbinder when I saw it, that microscopically intense portrait style of a struggler in life. The photography outside is very European in flavour too, with long lingering shots of the location, and using the beauty of the landscape as a piece of art - I suppose this is classically French in technique.

As with all masterpieces, the film's real power only really hits you after it has ended. The humanity of it just tears away at you, and that gives this film its noted pathos. And it is so beautifully done, every scene is perfect, the end of scene shots of Josie looking on when his friend has left, and the minute details like him counting out the biscuits is just cinematic perfection. Yes, if you know your cinema you could say that the film makers have taken a lot of inspiration from elsewhere and constructed the most affecting tragic human portrait, but that they did it so well, chose their subject so well, and got such a great performance from the lead actor, deserves a massive heap of praise. I'm not surprised that the French loved it, I'm just a little bit surprised it didn't win more awards than it did!

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Great small film

10/10
Author: cleandump from UK
20 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really liked this film from Ireland for it's simplicity and detail. A guy named Josey lives and works in a Garage situated on the outskirts of a small Irish town. He has no wife, girlfriend, family, or any real friends to speak of, his hum-drum existence centers around the Garage, the occasional walk alone in the Irish countryside, and his nightly sojourn to the pub where he seems to be the butt of local humor. The thing about Josey is that he's a very likable guy, I almost thought that he was a simpleton, he never resents his situation in life, he is affable to everyone, and never complains about his lot. Josey's suffering is punctuated in small moments throughout the film, but they go almost unnoticed by the viewer. The girl he fancies tells him it's never gonna happen, the locals in the pub tell him his Garage job (which he loves) is only temporary because the owner is looking to sell the Garage and land to property developers, a horse that was previously free to roam in his field, and that Josey visited on a regular basis to feed apples, is now tethered and cannot approach the gate when Josey calls, and a moment where Josey meets a man on a bridge, the man carries a sack containing new born puppies which he is about to dump into the river, Josey and the man converse for awhile before the guy throws the sack into the river, Josey's last words to the man being "maybe it's for the best" were significant. I became totally involved watching this movie, the photography of the Irish countryside is short but wonderful to look at, the Irish lilt of the actors with every other sentence ending in the word "so" makes you feel your in Ireland, the depiction of Josey's lonely life is totally believable. A great small film.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Sometimes people just fail to see the good in people

9/10
Author: Pascal Zinken (LazySod) from Maastricht, The Netherlands
6 May 2009

Josie works in a garage in a small town. He mans the gas pumps, sells the oils and the magazines to the travelers. Only, the town is so small and the road is so little traveled that he hardly has anything to do. Josie has also lived in this town all his life and has worked in this same garage for almost just as long. When his boss asks him to take on the weekends as well he is up for the task - and when his boss offers to send a kid as a helping hand he accepts that kid too. All in all, Josie is a very easy guy that takes the world for what it is. Too bad the world does not fully understand that.

Although somewhat predictable this film is a rather interesting one. The way the actors play out their roles make up for a glimpse of the grim reality people like Josie live in. All he wants is do good, all he gets is evil. The message is clear from the very start of the film but never starts to bore too much. This is purely due to the way the different characters get together and depict the pretty little village the film plays in - the message fits the persons and the town perfectly. When the ending comes it is dark and dreary, but fitting and only logical.

9 out of 10 good people making bad choices

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