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Film Review: Parked

Drama. Starring Colm Meaney, Colin Morgan, Milka Ahlroth, Stuart Graham. Directed by Darragh Byrne. Cert 15A

Colm Meaney's performance is the most notable feature of this movie, the latest to examine the human fallout from the Celtic Tiger years. Meaney plays Fred, a middle-aged man who returns on the ferry from England and lives in his car in a car park on the coast road. We don't discover what's caused this dramatic downturn in his fortunes but can see through Meaney's expressive display that here is a man desperately trying to work his way through his considerable problems.

The film doesn't quite follow through with the secondary characters, Colin Morgan failing to fully convince as a junkie who lives in a vehicle in the same car park while the inclusion of Finnish actress Milka Ahlroth as Juliana, a woman who Fred takes a shine to, feels like a sop to the Finnish co-producers than a character in her own right.

For all its flaws though Parked is worth a look for Meaney's believable and sensitive portrayal of a man who's lost a lot but still has something to prove to himself and the world.HHHII

ALBATROSS Drama. Starring Jessica Brown Findlay, Felicity Jones, Sebastian Koch, Julia Ormond. Directed by Niall McCormack. Cert 15A

Heavy-handed metaphors concerning the film's title hover over this debut feature from Niall McCormack, as fiesty, free-spirited aspiring writer Emelia Conan Doyle, (Jessica Brown Findlay) causes havoc among a family when she begins work as a maid at their struggling B&B.

The husband Jonathan (Sebastian Koch) is a blocked writer unable to escape the shadow of a previous novel, his bitter, shrewish wife Joa (Julia Ormond) yearns to return to her all-too-brief career as an actress, while their bookish daughter Beth (Felicity Jones) is weighed down by her parents' ambitions for her and longs to break away.

Emelia (17) is the catalyst for the subsequent drama, which has promise in the burgeoning friendship between herself and Beth, but flimsy plotting and a decidedly uneven tone allows that coming-of-age strand to slip away. Matters aren't helped when it quickly dawns on the viewer that Emelia isn't actually the sparky character we first thought but a selfish and irritating little madam who needs a good clip around the ear to put her straight. HHIII