Tragi-comedy from the margins of contemporary Irish life. Regarded by his neighbors as a harmless misfit, eliciting idle kindness, benign tolerance and occasional abuse, Josie has spent all his adult life as the caretaker of a crumbling petrol station on the outskirts of a small town in the mid-west of Ireland. He is limited, lonely, yet relentlessly optimistic and, in his own peculiar way, happy. But then over the course of a summer, Josie's world shifts. A teenager, David, comes to work with him. David likes him. They open up to each other and suddenly the lonely adult is drinking cans down at the railway tracks with the local kids. He is awakened to needs in himself that have never been met. And Carmel, from the local shop, who has always been kind to him, stirs feelings within him that he struggles to name. And then one thoughtless moment unravels the threads of faltering friendship. Events spiral. Josie's life is changed, forever.Written by
Black Velvet Band
[played by the musicians in the pub] See more »
Nothing short of a masterpiece
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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