Lost & Found

by Toby Woollaston

lafWriter, director, star and chief financier Liam O Mochain crafts a collection of sketches about life in and around an Irish train station. Although billed as a comedy, Lost & Found is very light on laughs, rather this is more an observational film that expounds on the tall-tales you’d expect to overhear at the local pub. No surprise then, that O Mochain’s anecdotal ephemera were indeed inspired by true stories; among them are wedding proposal antics, a Publican’s opening night anguish, a treasure hunting son, funeral wakes, and of course the lost property desk clerk, David (O Mochain), around whom the film loosely centres.

Lost & Found may very well be the product of O Mochain’s keen ear at the local watering hole, but his skill as a story-teller suggests this to be a work of beer-mat scribblings stitched together by the local village quilting club. And as the patchwork vignettes roll out, some of which work better than others, there is a distinct lack of cohesion that hints strongly at the film’s laboured five year production cycle.

The narrative structure consists of a tableau of seven overlapping chapters, each one highlighting a character within the station’s milieu. Characters alluded to in early chapters are subsequently fleshed out, turning up later at unexpected junctures. This serves to deliver a kind of cathartic reveal—a pleasant distraction from the film’s piecemeal delivery, and as individuals duck and dive in and out of each other’s lives Lost & Found feels like it is building up to something big. Unfortunately it doesn’t, and remains a meandering potpourri of lightweight stories that don’t appear to amount to much.

Far be it for me to be mean-spirited over a film that is clearly a labour of love beset by an elongated production cycle and next to no budget—it certainly can’t be easy, and despite Lost & Found’s many faults, it does have some highlights. Go in will low expectations and you might be pleasantly charmed by the film’s more observational qualities, but beyond that the only thing you’ll find charming is the Irish accents.

 

See my reviews for the NZ Herald here and for Witchdoctor here.

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