From Ireland with soul, emerging director Darragh Byrne’s debut film drama Parked is an endearing story about the trials and triumphs of a group of refreshingly real characters.
Distributor: Olive Films
Director: Darragh Byrne
Cast: Colm Meaney, Colin Morgan, Milka Ahlroth, Stuart Graham, Michael McElhatton, David Wilmot
Producers: Jacqueline Kerrin, Dominic Wright
Screenwriters: Ciaran Creagh
Rating: Not Rated
Running time: 94 minutes
Release date: November 30, 2012 (limited)
Colm Meaney brings to life Fred, who is a man striving to hold onto his dignity after returning home to his native Ireland after years of working odd jobs in England. He quickly realizes that his prospects seem less rosy when he’s unable to procure public assistance, which could have afforded him a flat. He pulls his car into a windswept marina parking lot, and plans to bide his time until he can figure out a way of how to get back onto his feet.
Soon, crusty young junkie Cathal shows up (played by Colin Morgan), and after some mutual trepidations, the two eventually strike up a friendship. Screenwriter Ciaran Creagh and Byrne paint a colorful tapestry filled with angst, melodrama, comedy, and heartfelt character motivations and insights. Meany and Morgan turn in awkwardly effective and believable performances, and the story largely manages to stay out cliché-ville. Their contrasting natures reveal emotional inner layers that are satisfying to behold.
There are even threads of romance and the promise of a new life, as Fred later meets a Finnish pianist (Milka Ahlroth) at a pool that the two men use to bathe and clean themselves in.
What could have easily become an exercise in futility, casting the narrative in the tones of gloom and anguish, Parked instead deftly tells a story of hope and of maintaining one’s dignity and self-worth under challenging circumstances. Hopefully, what is not lost upon movie-goers, is the larger picture of modern day economic instability, where it wouldn’t be hard to imagine one’s self falling into a similar situation. But, this little gem of a film is also nourishing enough when enjoyed solely for it’s interesting, quirky script, smooth direction, and unpretentious performances.
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