The Station Agent (2003)
WHY THE STATION AGENT?
It was Boxing Day 2003 and all of my other housemates had gone out for some festive fun – but I wanted to lay on the bed and watch one of my Christmas DVDs. I’d asked for The Station Agent based on a four-star Empire review that made it sound ‘interesting’.
By the time my housemates had returned something inside of me had changed. I’m not sure if it was the message of the film or just the blind-siding wake-up smack it administered to my head. But never before had I ever heard the call to make films so loud.
What Tom McCarthy had done was written a film that so perfectly revealed the depth of the unspoken emotions, of all the things that people didn’t say, but in doing so, he said so much; and so, I too had an unspoken epiphany that night. I didn’t want to keep doing what I was doing, I wanted to change my life, and do what it took to become a filmmaker.
And if a film can do that to a guy, where else is it going to sit on top of a top ten list?
It came at a time when the American Indie hadn’t fallen into the “let’s all be like Little Miss Sunshine” slump of the mid 00s, and even now, almost ten years later, there has yet to be another film bold enough to give the Leading Man role to a dwarf, or even to cast one and not reduce them to a sight gag, a mini-me nor an oven-shaped joke.
That the film wasn’t written specifically for a four foot actor, makes it all the richer for it.
The sparse dialogue and long, slow, meaning-filled scenes speak volumes and continue to be a prime source of inspiration to me.
Tom McCarthy is one of my heroes. His three directorial stabs have all been gems. Sure, The Visitor didn’t set me on fire, but it was still some mojo-working cinema, and Win Win might just be getting a shout in further down my Top Ten. That the fella writes it all too, makes him an all out idol for me.
And, as I just found out from IMDb, he was also an actor in The Wire (playing one of the character’s I disliked the most, sure, but still, Tom McCarthy is my man).
Everything about this film is perfect to me, and I wish more people would go and watch it, although, in a little film-snobby way, I really like that most people have never seen my favourite ever film.