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Critic Reviews for Garage

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Audience Reviews for Garage

There are three standout elements for this film: the sheer presence of Pat Shortt, playing a happy-go-lucky, but lonely man-child, the verdant isolation of the setting in rural Ireland, and the unique small-town feeling, where you can be isolated and yet uncomfortably close at the same time. It is not difficult to see why the movie has attracted so much acclaim, especially the IFTAs. Not only does it capture my experience of rural Ireland, it also hit home on the attitudes and longings of myself and people I used to call friends. Coming as I have from a similar upbringing in the "otas," Minnesota and the Dakotas, I had to hand it to the writers and the director as far as the pacing and the dialogue. The story builds beautifully using several different "vignette" scenes as recurring motifs, which support the rise and fall of Josie's sense of belonging. Josie's pub visits, a random horse that he likes to stop off at to feed apples, a covered bench near an abandoned railway track where local teens congregate to drink and smoke, and others. This lends the film a lyrical and musical feeling. Pat Shortt, as the main character, is "fucking sound," as his young assistant David says in the film. From his taut, nervous smile, to his arrested waddle, to his frequent humble expressions, Shortt is authentic. Spoiler - the ending is not a surprise and it is not melodramatic. At the mid point of the film, we see one of Josie's pub mates drowning an unwanted litter of puppies in a river. You can literally see Josie's conscience grind behind his expression as it happens. When he returns to the river after an embarrassing police interrogation, and takes off his shoes and hat, you know what's going to happen. What could have gone off better are the buildup of Josie's disappointments - his past, his crush on a local cashier, perhaps more development of his relationship with David. However, the pacing is still intentionally a bit oppressive, in tune with Josie's psychic status. Although it clocks in at 85 minutes, quite brisk for a feature, you will feel like you've aged a little - but in a compassionate way. It is a warm embrace of abandoned memories and perhaps less fortunate people whom we risk leaving behind as we strive to grow and improve ourselves.

Joe Longtin
Joe Longtin

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