ShareThis Page
On a Clear Day |

On a Clear Day

Ed Blank
| Friday, June 2, 2006 12:00 a.m

For all of its heartfelt intentions, the Scottish comic drama “On a Clear Day” just misses having sufficient finesse to punch home the tragic and comic qualities of its hero, a 55-year-old Glasgow shipyard worker named Frank Redmond (Peter Mullan).

It joins a vast, invariably compelling group of British and Irish films about working-class men struggling with pride, mortality, an embarrassing (to them) vulnerability and here — as in “The Full Monty,” “Brassed Off” and others — unemployment.

Demeaned by his sudden inability to provide for himself and his wife, Joan (Brenda Blethyn), Frank idles in a public swimming pool, sometimes with his buddies, as he shapes a plan to restore his self-confidence and to prove himself by swimming the English Channel.

Director Gaby Dellal and screenwriter Alex Rose regularly seek out water sources, from rivers to showers, to underscore a thematic cleansing of the soul and a fresh start for a man fighting depression, panic attacks, guilt for one son’s death long ago and his discomfort with surviving son Rob (Jamie Sives).

Even beyond the unpersuasive detours it takes en route to predictable uplift moments, “On a Clear Day” is a bit too diffuse and laid back to register effectively when it depicts several little victories.

It’s too safe and too familiar in its depiction of renewal.

We go in rooting for Frank. Considering the film’s comic touches don’t quite play anyway, we could use a more pithy insight into his angst and the very real problems that a good swim won’t resolve.

  • At the Squirrel Hill Theater.

Additional Information:


‘On a Clear Day’

Rated PG-13 for language; Two and a half stars

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.