Director: Darragh Byrne | 94 minutes | drama | Actors: Colm Meaney, Colin Morgan, Milka Ahlroth, Stuart Graham, Michael McElhatton, David Wilmot, Tatiana Ouliankina, Diarmuid Noyes, Mark Butler, Martin Lucey, Aoife Maloney, Will O’Connell, Andy Kellegher, Eoin Fleming, Mary Kelly, Conor MacNeill, Matti Ijäs
Interesting question: are you homeless if you live in a car in a parking lot by the sea? According to Dublin’s social services, the answer is irrelevant, because as a car occupant you do not have a permanent address and you are not eligible for benefits. With that, Fred, the main character in the drama “Parked”, is nicely finished. After spending much of his life abroad, when he returns home to Ireland, the bureaucratic reluctance of social services awaits him. To make matters worse, his neighbor in the parking lot is a junkie with a serious lack of money.
Darragh Byrne’s feature debut revolves around the question of whether Fred and junkie Cathal are able to put their lives in order. And whether they, as neighbors, can stand it together a bit against will and thanks.
You can fill in the answers to those questions after ten minutes, because for a debutant film, “Parked” is remarkably predictable. That Cathal sees a surrogate father in Fred and Fred a son in Cathal, you can see from afar, as well as that Fred finds a possible lover with the musician Jules and that Cathal has problems with dealers. The metaphor is equally unremarkable, with jammed clocks and the inevitable jump off a diving board as worn lows.
Fortunately, “Parked” also distinguishes itself positively from other debuts. The film has a traditional level that you would not expect from a firstfruit. No matter how predictable, the story runs smoothly from A to Z, in a consistent rhythm and with a nice alternation of light-footed and fierce drama. The actors are also doing fine. Colm Meany can finish his role with two fingers in the nose, but the young Colin Morgan surprises as an endearing junkie. And the images of Dublin, in its beautiful and ugly everydayness, are often beautiful.
No film fan will be wary of “Parked”, but this debut is certainly enjoyable. Those who forget predictability for a moment can easily get carried away by the drama of the junkie and his benevolent companion. And if you are fed up with the film halfway through, you can always retire to meditation and look for the answer to the question with which this review opens.