Lost and Found is a series of individual tales loosely connected by Daniel, who starts working in the lost and found of his local train station in Ireland. Characters appear in multiple stories, interconnecting with each other and thematically look at the changing nature of relationships, whether that’s friendship, family, community, the elderly or romantically, as well as how life, death and changes of circumstances can impact on those relationships.
It’s worth pointing out that there is a very specifically Irish slant to life in this film. The traditional sense of charm and humour mixed with melancholy, that is a defining aspect of the Irish condition is very much present. The town in which the film is set is, in my experience, a fairly typical one outside of the big cities, and the stories although often based on the unbelievable, feature characters who feel very authentic. O Mochain is charming as Daniel, while the trials and tribulations of the other characters make them complex and interesting. The level of authenticity and believability from the characters and the setting is a huge part of what makes this film so compelling and appealing.
Lost and Found is not a comedy, nor is it a drama, but it has elements of both. The story of Daniel’s friend’s disastrous marriage proposal has a hilarious twist, while the stories of the elderly gentleman at the station and Daniel’s grandmother’s past life growing up in Poland are both borderline tearjerkers. Lost and Found does a great job of highlighting the big emotional moments that life brings, and by doing this in an omnibus style fashion, it allows all the characters the opportunity to be fully fleshed out, without having to establish larger backstories. It's simple, but highly effective and makes for a really engaging overall narrative.
When watching Lost and Found I had no idea that it was shot on a tight budget over a number of years. It feels consistent in tone, in the way it’s shot and all the stories work both as a self-contained “episode” as well as part of the larger tapestry of the town. The theme of things being lost and found, either physical items or more metaphysical concepts, along with the lost and found office itself become an amazing connective tissue that ties everything together. It's also quite telling how many of the actors are recognisable from their other roles in major productions, including the likes of Ripper Street and Vikings. The cast is full of cracking performers who do brilliantly with the material, in a particular I felt Liam Carney excelled as Eddie, while Seamus Hughes and Norma Sheahan also stood out in their
Lost and Found is a charming, endearing film that manages to walk a tightrope between the fantastic and the whimsical, featuring flawed but likeable characters dealing with scenarios that are often unexpected, but still feel entirely grounded in reality. This really is a remarkable achievement, and certainly marks O’ Mochain out as one of the most exciting Irish writer-directors working today. Lost and Found offers a profound, fun, and often heartwarming look at the human condition and the things that really matter in life, enabled by some great writing and fantastic performances throughout. Go and see this film, you won't regret it.