Intermission: Review

7 Aug

Intermission is a 2003 black comedy about a young couple and their friends and family. Set in Dublin, the movie’s filmed in a documentary style and has multiple intersecting storylines that address love, crime and revenge.

The movie follows:

– Oscar, a man fearing that he’s lost all sexual function and can’t find a stable relationship.

– John (Cillian Murphy), a dissatisfied grocery store clerk who recently broke up with his long-time girlfriend Deirdre (Kelly MacDonald) as a “test” and regrets it once Deirdre moves on with Sam, a middle-aged married man.

– Sam’s wife of 14 years who can’t understand or cope with her failed marriage and sets out on a rage spree.

– Deirdre’s sister, Sally (Shirley Henderson), who’s so traumatized by her last relationship that she stopped physically taking care of herself and grows a mustache.

– Lehiff (Colin Farrell), a young thug that recruits John in a robbery where love and revenge will intersect.

The best way to describe Intermission is a darker and grittier version of Love, Actually. Like Love, Actually there’s an amazing ensemble cast that includes Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Red Eye, The Dark Knight Rises), Kelly MacDonald (No Country For Old Men), Kelly Conron (Rome), Colin Farrell (Total Recall) and Colm Meanie (Star Trek: The Next GenerationDeep Space Nine).

Essentially Intermission is a romantic-comedy, but a far more cynical one. The character’s are realistic, complicated and at the same time, crude and stupid. For example, after John learns that Deirdre is moving in with Sam, he storms over to Deirdre’s house calling her a blaggard and a whore on the street for everyone to hear. Interesting behaviour for someone who ended the relationship. Cillian Murphy’s performance as John is heartfelt and sympathetic. That doesn’t mean John’s particularly smart or interesting, more that his motivations are understandable.

Colin Farrell has a small, but memorable role as the unpredictable career criminal Lehiff. One minute he’s charming a pretty young waitress, the next he’s jumping on a car and threatening the driver with a shovel. Shirley Henderson (Bridget Jones’s Diary) is straightforward and brutally honest as Sally. Disgusted by her sister taking up with a married man, Sally tells the new couple that she’s can’t sit in a room with them because of “the smell of infidelity.” In a movie with so many libertines, the addition of a moral and traditional character is refreshing.

Thanks to John Crowley’s tight direction and a well-written script, you never lose track of the character’s or how they know one another. It’s a fantastic directorial debut that gives audiences hope that not all romantic comedies are absolutely horrible. If you’re sick of formulaic and dull love stories check out Intermission.

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