|Conroy and Gleeson on the train.|
Directed by Martin McDonagh
Produced by Kenton Allen and Mia Bays
Written by Martin McDonagh
Starring Brendan Gleeson, Ruaidhri Conroy, David Wilmot, Aisling O'Sullivan, Gary Lydon, Domhnall Gleeson, and David Murray
Martin McDonagh's Oscar-winning short is headlined by Brendan Gleeson and unknown Ruaidhri Conroy as a pair of train passengers. Mr. Donnelly (Gleeson) has just lost his wife, when he sits across from a "kid" (Conroy) on the train. Across from them are a man and a woman who's just lost her infant son. What should be a brief, relatively normal train ride turns into a violent affair that is downbeat, jarring, and, ironically, funny.
As a clear precursor to In Bruges, much of the film consists of the two leads having offensive, hilarious conversations, including a memorable, outlandish story about a cow. It's not surprising that McDonagh's film debut uses his off-color humor in the dialogue, and his distinctive style is also incorporated effectively. Gleeson's character is a depressed, endearing protagonist, fleshed out by the always brilliant veteran performer. Also, Conroy's humorous performance appears to have been studied by Colin Farrell for his lauded portrayal of Ray in 2008's In Bruges. Both of the actors inhabit their characters wonderfully, conveying their subtle pain and spouting blunt witticisms without pushing the material too far. Though, this duo is merely the tip of the iceberg compared to what McDonagh would deliver with his first feature. This film is dark and amusing, and, even though it's only twenty-seven minutes long, it belongs in the conversation with McDonagh's two features.
Oscar Tally: Best Short Film, Live Action (won)