Travelling the road to nowhere

Small Engine Repair (15)
Director: Nial Heery
Released: September 07
(Guerilla Films)

Small Engine Repair reminds us that the road to nowhere is rarely a happy one, but the possibility of something more is only a turning away. The story of a group of men whose hopes and aspirations are slowly dying away, its main focus is on the embittered Doug, a wannabe singer emotionally battered by the past. Despite his obvious abilities as a singer-songwriter, he’s too insecure to distribute his compelling demo of country, folk and Americana. But it does give him a sense of hope that his contemporaries (a mechanic dreaming of moving into truck repair, a friend recently released from prison) have all but lost.

Films examining masculine emotions are rare and Heery has captured the group’s frustrations and inherent tensions with ease. With a raw, sorrowful soundtrack worthy of investigation in its own right, Small Engine Repair is a quietly compelling gem that could well become a sleeper hit.

Ben Hopkins

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