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There’s something missing from Parked, Darragh Byrne‘s 2010 moper that’s screening as a part of the Capital Irish Film Festival tonight. It’s got all the parts of the story it’s trying to tell, but falls back on tired method rather than fit its pieces together.
Colm Meaney leads as Fred Daly, a pathetic middle-aged watchmaker who lives in his car. Poor old Fred just moved back to Ireland from England and, thanks to an odd residency law, doesn’t qualify for the state assistance he needs to get back on his feet, so he settles in the lonely confines of a four-door suite. It’s a lonely existence that’s made sadder every time Byrne settles the camera on Meaney’s heavy, sunken frown.
Things look up after Fred meets Cathal (Colin Morgan), a wayward drug addict who sets up shop a few parking spots down after falling out with his family. The two men soon fall into a lovely surrogate relationship—-Fred as the thoughtful father and Cathal the energetic son. While Fred’s off meeting a lady friend (Milka Ahlroth) at the community pool, though, Cath’s racking up debt with a drug dealer (Michael McElhatton). Clearly, things won’t be rosy in Hotel Hatchback for much longer.
As a story, Parked seems appropriately inspired and considerate—-there’s surely men and women stuck in Fred and Cathal’s situation in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland, and it’s not hard to imagine that Bryne had them in mind while shooting. Scribe Ciaran Creagh’s characters are bonded by their loneliness, a hardening sort of depression that’s more rooted in shock than anger. But as a piece of entertainment, Parked‘s motifs are a bit too on-the-nose to be taken seriously. (Characters uncork inspirational doozies like, “Just because someone blames you or pushes you away … [dramatic pause] … doesn’t means you should give up.”)
When I wanted it to show its endearing side, Parked moved toward shallow sympathy and lost me. And that’s a shame—-a movie this thoughtful deserves better.
The film screens tonight at 7:30 p.m. at E Street Cinema.