Intermission (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner20/10/2003

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 106 mins

By turns funny, shocking and moving, Intermission is an extremely enjoyable comedy drama with great performances from its ensemble cast.

Intermission is the feature debut of theatre director John Crowley – it was one of the best films at this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival and is certain to be both a critical and commercial hit now that it’s getting a nationwide release.

Multiple Plot Lines

As with most ensemble comedy-dramas, there are several plot strands unfolding at once. Cillian Murphy and Kelly MacDonald play John and Deirdre, a young couple whose break-up triggers a series of inter-weaving escapades in the lives of everyone around them.

These include: Lehiff (Colin Farrell), a petty criminal looking to pull off a bank job; Jerry (Colm Meany), a maverick detective being courted by a documentary director; Oscar (David Wilmot), John’s best friend, who finds himself involved in a kinky affair with an older woman, Noeleen (Deirdre O’Kane), who in turn is angry because her bank manager husband has left her to shack up with Deirdre.

Other characters include: Sally (Shirley Henderson), whose disastrous previous relationship has left her with some personal grooming issues; Mick (Brian F. O’Byrne), a bungling bus driver roped into Lehiff’s bank job plan; and Phillip (Taylor Malloy), a young tearaway whose habit of throwing stones through windscreens impacts on everyone’s lives.

The film gets off to a cracking start with a brilliant opening scene that sets the tone for the rest of the film, blending both likeable charm and shocking violence. The script is both witty and intelligent, with similar incidents recurring throughout the rest of the film – notably in the ‘romance’ between Noeleen and Oscar. It’s extremely well-plotted, too – part of the pleasure of the film lies in mapping out the ways in which the characters’ lives all intersect.

Uniformly Superb Acting

The acting is uniformly superb – Farrell in particular gives a great performance and immediately redeems himself for some of the crap he’s churned out in Hollywood so far. He should do more Irish movies. Meany is also hilarious as the crusading Jerry, especially when expounding on his love for “Celtic Mysticism”.

Murphy and MacDonald are essentially the centre of the film and they’re an appealing couple, but there’s also strong support from the likes of Shirley Henderson, Ger Ryan (as Sally and Deirdre’s Mum) and especially relative newcomer David Wilmott as the love-starved Oscar (his video shop excursions are a definite highlight).

Crowley’s pacing is extremely impressive – no-one is ever offscreen for too long and the film packs a lot of story into a surprisingly compact running time. It’s also frequently hilarious and there are several memorable scenes.

In short, Intermission is a well-acted, impressively directed, extremely enjoyable comedy drama that is by turns funny, shocking and touching, with a terrific script and believeable relationships. It also has a great soundtrack that features the unmissable sound of Colin Farrell singing “I Fought The Law”. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Intermission (18)
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Content updated: 18/12/2017 20:30

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