Garage (18)

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson
Written by Mark O'Halloran
Screening at FACT from 4th April 2008

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a keenly observed and charming portrayal of a sensitive and lovable misfit, set in a one horse town in rural Ireland.

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, whose previous feature - his debut film - centred around the grim lives of two junkies in Dublin, offers a feelgood factor in Garage, even though the lives of the characters are largely tedious and mundane, but nevertheless true to life.

The village idiot Josie (Pat Shortt) is the caretaker of a dilapidated petrol station, who spends his time filling up the occasional car or lorry that stops by, or else does odd jobs around the place.

He has very few real friends - more often than not he is the object of gentle ridicule, notably in the local pub - because he is so naive and trusting of other people. This ultimately proves to be his undoing.

The tragedy that befalls him is set in motion when a youngster David (Conor J Ryan) comes to work with him at weekends. Josie treats him to the odd beer and they bond well together. David thinks he is 'fucking sound!' when he introduces him to his mates sitting around a camp fire.

Although very lonely, Josie draws comfort in life from his fondness for a shire horse based in a field near to where he lives, and his love of the countryside.

On the surface not a lot appears to take place in the film, however it asks a lot of questions about life, love - or lack of it - and what keeps us motivated in getting up out of bed every morning.

Garage is a mini classic of its genre.

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