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Parked (2010)

Parked, the debut feature from director Darragh Byrne, stars Colm Meaney as Fred, a middle aged man who lives in his car in a Dublin car park. Unable to get any assistance from the state as he has 'no fixed abode', Fred has developed a routine involving watering the small plant he keeps on his dashboard and washing in the local public toilets while sometimes tinkering with watches and clocks.

The early scenes detailing Fred's car based routine are like the film itself - humorous and quirky and at the same time deeply sad.

Fred's life changes when another car, home to a young junkie called Cathal, pulls into his car park. Fred and Cathal strike up an unlikely friendship; Cathal introduces Fred to the local swimming baths, where he encounters a woman named Jules, a Finnish piano teacher with whom he embarks upon a tentative courtship. It is Fred and Cathal's friendship which provides the heart of the film, though, Cathal helping Fred recapture his hope and joie de vivre while being tragically unable to break free from his own downward spiral of drug addiction.

The film seemed to lose its pace a little towards the end, there's a scene at a wake which could have had more impact with less dialogue, for example, and there are times when the 'drugs are bad' message could have done with a bit of a lighter touch.

The central performances are strong; Colm Meaney lends a quiet dignity to the role of Fred, while Colin Morgan is all twitchy, nervous energy as Cathal. It's beautifully shot, too.

Overall it is a genuinely touching film, both funny and sad; I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.