Garage (2007) starring Pat Shortt, John Keogh, George Costigan, Anne-Marie Duff, Conor Ryan, Anne Byrne, Gary Lilburn directed by Lenny Abrahamson Movie Review

Garage (2007)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Pat Shortt in Garage (2007)

Everybody Knows a Josie

Josie (Pat Shortt - SoulBoy) leads an uncomplicated life working at a run down petrol station near an Irish village where those who know him see him as a simple but harmless misfit, often mocking him because of his mental slowness. But then things start to change when his boss employs a 15 year old called David (Conor Ryan) to help him out. The innocent Josie befriends the young man, sharing a beer with him and talking about life. The friendship leads to a change for Josie as David gives him the encouragement to talk to the woman he fancies. But when Josie innocently goes to show David a porno video that a truck driver left him things take a dramatic and unwelcome turn for Josie when the police come calling as the locals turn from seeing him as a harmless misfit to something more sinister.

Within minutes of "Garage" starting it is heartbreaking because of Pat Shortt's pitch perfect portrayal of Josie because everyone has met a Josie at some point in their life. And before anything happens we are already piecing together what might happen; we might expect that this good hearted young man will be mocked by those not grown up to know better whilst those who are grown up put up with him but in truth would rather not know him. It is such an amazingly right portrayal that we also can hazard a guess that Josie's innocence, his slowness to know what is right is going to cause him problems.

As much as the credit goes to Pat Shortt for such a fantastic performance credit also goes to writer Mark O'Halloran and director Lenny Abrahamson for managing to make Josie and his life so painfully real, heartbreaking yet also amusing. It is not a case that we are laughing at Josie but somehow find things amusing such as Josie's major concern when speaking to his boss being the position of the oil whether inside or outside of the shop. It is exceptionally clever how they have achieved it because immediately we feel for Josie but we also find his way of doing things comical but not in a nasty way.

It is all in the detail and "Garage" is rich in detail from the emptiness of life working at the garage and living in the back room to the way others relate to Josie. It is also in the way others are portrayed and their comical jibes at Josie which fly over his head. When Josie is talking and a man in the pub makes a jibe and says "you should have been a doctor" the way it appears to fly right over his head is so real, yet you know that at some point what is said will be processed and will contribute to Josie's sense of loneliness yet he will put up with it and keep on smiling even though the comment hurt.

What this all boils down to is that "Garage" is one of those movies which manages to be real yet also comical which is a rare thing to achieve so perfectly. But it is also heart breaking right from the word go because of the familiarity of Josie.