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FILMS Ireland

Review: Lost & Found


- Liam O Mochain's third feature, based on a number of true stories, explores the bizarre world of a lost-and-found office at an Irish train station

Review: Lost & Found
Liam Carney in Lost & Found

There are seven interconnecting stories set in and around the small microcosm of a lost-and-found office at an Irish Rail station, located in Portarlington, County Laois: protagonist Daniel (Liam O Mochain), who has just got a new job in said office; Eddie (Liam Carney), who spends his days begging in the station; Gabriel (Seamus Hughes), who plans to surprise his girlfriend by proposing up in the air; Daniel's grandmother (Barbara Adair), who asks her grandson to retrieve a bracelet buried at her childhood home in Poland; Moya (Norma Sheahan), who accidentally visits a funeral home and signs a book of condolences with unexpected consequences; Paudge (Donncha Crowley), a pub owner who keeps refurbishing his unpopular bar in the hope of finally attracting some customers; and Sile (Aoibhin Garrihy), who has already set a date for her wedding despite not even having a groom yet.

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This is the plot of Liam O Mochain's new comedy, Lost & Found [+see also:
film profile
, now on general release in Irish cinemas, after it picked up the Best Foreign Film Award at the Arizona Film Festival earlier this summer and enjoyed a sold-out world premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh last year. It is the director's third feature film, after his previous works WC (2007) and The Book That Wrote Itself (1999). Lost & Found is an enjoyable comedy, the strongest feature of which is the actors' work. The consistency of the episodes varies, but they are all able to provide viewers with some funny moments. Particularly successful are two of them – namely, The Tent, where we see Daniel searching for his grandmother's bracelet in a Polish backwoods town, characterised by an absurd style typical of many Eastern European comedies, and Ticket to Somewhere, mostly driven by the strength of the character portrayed by Liam Carney. 

The viewer is easily able to empathise with Daniel, a man who has not been particularly lucky or outstanding during his existence, but who loves life nonetheless. The character of Daniel is supposed to unite all of the various characters' stories, and the lost-and-found context should be a springboard for exploring the theme of loss on a grander scale. This goal is only partially achieved; unfortunately, the narrative flow is not homogeneous enough, and at times, the viewer may end up feeling lost and under the impression that the core theme of the film has been abandoned. In order to avoid this, more thorough work on the script could have been done to exploit the movie’s potential. The idea to portray the life of a small Irish community through its local station's lost-and-found office is definitely interesting and original; however, the scope of the film soon becomes too ambitious and all-encompassing, affecting the quality of the narrative structure and leading the viewer through some predictable plot twists.

All in all, O Mochain's film is a light-hearted, likeable comedy: the ensemble cast works fairly well, and the photography and set design departments have done a fair job of delivering the laid-back atmosphere of the Irish countryside and its inhabitants.

Produced by Irish production firm Siar A Rachas Muid Productions in association with Hyper Films and Screen Content Ireland, Lost & Found hit national cinemas on 13 July, distributed by Eclipse Pictures.

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