On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: RUNWAY (Tribeca Film).
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Based on an event that occurred in 1983, THE RUNWAY is one of the most delightful films of the year. The story of a small Irish village and the Colombian pilot who crash lands there, Ian Power’s comedy has a heart and soul that recall the gentle fables of Bill Forsyth.
In County Cork, Ireland, a fatherless boy named Paco leads a lonely life of hooliganism and solitude. Left to his own devices by his overworked but loving single mother, Paco finds his self-taught Spanish handy when a plane goes down outside his village. Offering refuge to the plane’s pilot, Paco becomes his protector, facilitator and interpreter, concealing aviator Ernesto’s true identity as a thief and enlisting the aid of the villagers in the repair of his downed craft.
Paco’s wily machinations in befriending Ernesto are initially self-serving, as the boy sees an opportunity to have a man around his fatherless household. But his chicanery slowly takes effect on his neighbors, and they begin to see an opportunity to band together and offer their knowledge to rescue Ernesto.
Writer-director Ian Power grounds THE RUNWAY in reality, never succumbing to the temptations of whimsy. The film’s grit and dirt feel real and make the characters’ situation that much more poignant. Paco’s mother, Grace, portrayed by Kerry Condon of the HBO series LUCK and ROME, is lonely, harried, and harassed by a drunken admirer, and she is as hungry for male attention as her son is, so the presence of Ernesto, played by dashingly handsome Oscar nominee Demián Bichir (A BETTER LIFE), is a welcome addition to her life. Likewise, the men of the town find a sense of purpose – and a drinking buddy – in the stranded airman, despite their language gap.
Bichir is superb as the pilot held hostage by the welcoming townsfolk. Desperate to get back in the air, but charmed by the cozy Irish village – and clearly entranced by Grace – Ernesto is a victim of the citizens’ politeness and solicitude. Bichir has some wonderful comic moments as the stranger in a strange land, and makes Ernesto a delightful foil for the Irish do-gooders.
At the center of THE RUNWAY is an amazingly assured performance by Jamie Kierans in his debut feature. With his penetrating eyes and boyish freckles, he combines maturity and innocence and defines Paco’s loneliness and longing for connection. His scenes with Bichir are both hilarious and heartbreaking, as Paco finds in Ernesto a friend and a confidante.
Up to its rousing and pardonably predictable wrap up, THE RUNWAY is a joy. A warm and gentle comedy that’s both mature and fairly family friendly – profanity just doesn’t sound that bad when it’s uttered in that brogue. A winning tale of true-life adventure, THE RUNWAY is a can’t-miss pleasure.
Chris Claro is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. He is a former Director of Promotion for Sundance Channel and now works as a writer, producer, and media educator. He is a regular contributor to dvdverdict.com and contributor to the Eyes and Ears section of huffingtonpost.com. He blogs at http://disconcertingglare.blogspot.com. Follow Chris on twitter @cgclaro.
COLLABORATOR (Tribeca Film) can be found on demand.
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