A Man of No Importance (1994)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom, Ireland  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

With glee dancing in his eyes and a hidden shame in his heart, Albert Finney grandly carries this small film about a closeted Dublin bus driver who yearns to bring theater and culture to his closed-minded community, even at the cost of his public respect. Finney is simply wonderful, irrepressible yet intensely polite, such a soft, caring soul that it breaks your heart just to watch him earnestly pursue his ideals. Tara Fitzgerald makes a splendid muse for Alfie's Salome and a perfect counterpart to his character, equally kind and vulnerable, but with greater moral compromise, even though society looks more kindly on her dire acts of prostitution than Alfie's "love that dare not speak its name." Their relationship, a non-sexual love, is touchingly childlike and tender. Director Suri Krishnamma has assembled a colorful cast of supporting players to populate his small corner of Dublin, including David Kelly as one of Alfie's few supporters, Michael Gambon as the intolerant moral authority, Brenda Fricker as Alfie's conflicted sister, and the luminous Rufus Sewell as Alfie's studly young crush. The film delves into issues of pain and bigotry, but it remains light on its feet and a thorough pleasure, thanks to a performance by Finney that simply sings. It's also got a healthy dose of comedy; especially fun are the scenes in which Alfie tries, with fraying patience, to make actors out of his motley bunch of bus passengers.