Today: February 23, 2024

Parked DVD

In Dublin’s fair city, life sure ain’t pretty.

In Dublin’s fair city, life sure ain’t pretty.

Tough times
are said to foster great creativity, and it is to be hoped that Parked, a
modern parable, is the first of many quality reactions from Europe’s battered
periphery to the awful mess we’re in.

Set against
Dublin’s glistening, empty new-builds and architectural statements of intent –
built during the good times and now mocking reminders of what, in realty, never
was – there’s no blarney here, and a distinct lack of craic. The Emerald Isle is a sorry state, and its inhabitants are

those affected by Ireland’s harsh economic chill is Fred (Colm Meaney), an introverted middle-aged man who lives in his car
by the sea.

returned from England after a life of drifting from one job to another, Fred is
in the most reduced of circumstances. With no family to call on and no work in
sight, his mid-range saloon is his only refuge, and he’s banging his head
against the uncaring bureaucratic walls of a country so broke it deems him too
much in need for them to do anything about.

But he’s got a
friend; an asthmatic young pothead called Cathal (Colin Morgan), whose circumstances are, if anything, even worse –
he’s Fred’s neighbor in the car park, but he’s only got one of those tiny

Fred and
Cathal bond, awkwardly, over their bad luck, and the younger man encourages the
older to woo Juliana, a bohemian, Icelandic music teacher.

But it quickly
becomes apparent that Cathal’s vices don’t end at the odd reefer, and his
mounting debts to the local dealers become an issue for both of the parked men
and, by association, Juliana.

Meaney, who
despite making around five films a year for the last 20 years is perhaps best
known for his long stint on the deck of the Starship Enterprise, has never been
better than here.

He imbues Fred
with an incredible stillness, and allows us to believe in a man who has
accepted his lot and is terrified to try for more. Sometimes jocular, often
downbeat, but never maudlin, Fred is Ireland’s everyman, striving for a return
to something resembling normality.

Paired against
such a fine performance, Morgan has to be note perfect, and is – an
untrustworthy double-talker, Cathal would sell his gran for a hit, and his
descent into grubby addiction is excellently done.

Parked is a
film in no hurry. The events that pull Fred, Cathal and Juliana together and
then tear them apart are allowed to unfold all in good time.

Shot on an
austerity budget, but never looking austere, Parked is smart filmmaking from
first-timer Darragh Byrne. If it
were set on the west coast of America would be an instant cult hit.

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