Station Agent [2003]

Director: Thomas McCarthy
Stars: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale, Paul Benjamin, Jase Blankfort
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 89 minutes

A strong ensemble and director Tom McCarthy's sweetly low-key observations make Sundance fave The Station Agent a treat. The film revolves around a reserved, somber dwarf (Peter Dinklage, immortalized by his brilliant ticked-off tirade in Living in Oblivion), a train enthusiast who inherits a small depot in rural New Jersey. He makes friends, somewhat reluctantly, with a group of eccentric locals: the guy at the coffee stand (buoyant Bobby Cannavale), an artist (Patricia Clarkson, impeccable as usual), a librarian (Michelle Williams). A few of the plot strands feel forced, but whenever the actors are simply playing off each other with McCarthy's nicely understated dialogue--which is most of the time--it ambles along winningly. You'll also learn more than you ever thought you'd want to know about trains. The key is Dinklage's smoldering performance, one of those reminders that a single scowl is worth pages of conversation. --Robert Horton

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