Comfort and Joy

Bill Forsyth | 1984 | ★★★★
When his light-fingered girlfriend suddenly leaves him just before Christmas, easy-going early morning radio disc jockey Dicky Bird begins to re-evaluate his life – an act that somehow, when he asserts to become a more serious person, results in his finding himself in the middle of a vicious territorial dispute between an Italian family ice scream firm and a collective of independent van owners. Acting as a sort of intermediary between the two parties, he succeeds only in heightening the war, totalling his car, and causing his friends and work colleagues to come to believe that he has gone crackers, in Forsyth’s allegorical gem, which deftly descends from sublime character study to ridiculous farce with consummately bitter-sweet ease. Bill Paterson’s amiable central performance, Mark Knopfler’s quietly melancholy score, and Forsyth’s trademark gentle touch combine to generally delightful effect, with the film’s affecting dream sequences proving particularly effective.