Sometimes your lucky and sometimes your not! I refer to selecting an ‘unknown’ film to watch, you know the one, sounds good but your not sure. To be honest I’ve been quite lucky with small budget independent movies that have had almost non-existent distribution, generally only shown in independent picture houses or at local film festivals. I can remember shouting the praises for an Irish film directed by Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did 2012) called Garage (2007). Set and shot in Southern Ireland, it’s about Josie a lonely good-natured petrol station attendant who has worked at the crumbling garage for 20 years. His hapless searches for intimacy over one-summer sees his little niche threatened and his life changed forever. The Irish comedian, singer and writer Pat Shortt, won a Best Actor Award for his role as Josie. This turned out to be an extraordinary powerful film with a great funny/sad performance from Shortt.
|Treacle Jr is the cat!|
Not quite up to the standard of Garage, but well worth seeing all the same is Treacle Jr (2012) directed and written by Jamie Thraves and starring Aidan Gillen (The Dark Knight Rises 2012, Shadow Dancer 2012, Blitz 2011), Tom Fisher and Riann Steele, who like Fisher has mainly appeared on the small screen in various television series.
The story involves a middle-aged man, Tom (Fisher), who walks out on his wife and baby boy and a seemingly happy life in Birmingham with no explanation. Throwing away both his credit cards and mobile phone he opts to live rough on the streets of London. Alone in a park at night he is set upon by a gang of violent thugs, in his bid to escape he accidentally runs into a tree and knocks himself out. In A&E Tom meets an extremely happy, fast-talking individual, Aidan (Gillen) the complete opposite of Tom. Too polite, or too weak to ask him to leave him alone Tom tries to get away from him but to no avail, Aidan sticks to him like glue. Tom reluctantly becomes involved in Aidan's life and he quickly realizes that this child like man clearly has his own problems, except Aidan can't see them; his shiny optimism blinds him at every turn, even from his 'girlfriend' the dangerous and volatile Linda (Steele).
Thraves manages to obtain a wonderful judged performance from the very versatile Gillen; a commendable actor who seems happy to jump from big budget blockbuster to independent minimally financed films, he’s totally convincing as the bizarrely accented and deranged Irish man who strikes up an odd couple relationship with the middleclass dropout who appears to be suffering some kind of midlife crisis that’s never really explained. The director remortgaged his own house to make this very likeable slice of social realism producing a movie that pull’s at the heartstrings, but also making you laugh out loud.
|The very versatile Aidan Gillen.|