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Monday, December 12, 2011

The Station Agent (2003)

The Station Agent is about Fin (Peter Dinklage), a man with an unusually short name and an abnormally small body. He’s reminded of it at nearly every point of his life by almost everybody he meets. The little boys playing at a ground near his workplace enquire about the whereabouts of ‘Snow White’. The lady at the cash counter says something apologetic for not having seen him. A cheeky old woman grins with victory after taking a picture of him. The librarian freaks out on almost walking into him and explains that she thought the place was empty. Even the good news of inheriting a piece rural property left by a friend comes along with distasteful dessert, “You’re one of those memorable people.” And you will laugh as expected. But director Thomas Mccarthy doesn’t let the film capitalize on Fin’s short stature for laughs. He directs his actors with precision and lets them sink into the skins of the characters. You see their sadness. You see something exceptional in it and you hop on the train.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Margin Call (2011)

Margin Call is set at a large investment bank. It begins with a firing squad walking down a long corridor, sending chills up the spines of nearby employees. Yes, people are going to get fired. Head of sales, Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey) explains “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Among the many terminated is Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci), a high ranking employee in risk management. He insists on finishing up with his final report but his boss reminds him that it doesn’t concern him anymore. His protégé, Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) escorts him to the lift where he hands over the responsibility of completing the final report and says “Be careful.” Before Sullivan can react the elevator closes. Later that night, on finishing the report, Peter Sullivan predicts an economic meltdown. Everyone’s going down. “Look at all these people; they don’t have the slightest idea about what’s about to happen,” he remarks.
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