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2011/11/06

Intermission

by Tony Ramos

You wouldn't think that a film full of characters that are depressed, angry, frustrated, and lonely could ever be funny. Yet, Intermission, a film directed by John Crowley, manages to be just that. Even though the film is classified as a Comedy/Crime/Drama, I feel this dark comedy will have you laughing more than anything else. Whether it's because of the funny situations the characters find themselves in or the way the actors deliver their lines, Intermission is one of the funniest films I've watched.


The film takes place in a suburb of Dublin, Ireland, where it was filmed on location. It uses an ensemble Irish cast, although American audiences will surely recognize actors Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy. Like most ensemble featured films, Intermission has various story lines and runs the danger of an audience becoming confused with what's going on. With this film, however, that never happens because the story lines are clearly written. More importantly, the characters in this film are well developed and performed, thus allowing the audience to follow along easily.

John (Cillian Murphy) and Deirdre (Kelly Macdonald)
In the film, John (Cillian Murphy), a frustrated supermarket worker, has come to realize he's made a mistake in telling his girlfriend they needed a break (intermission) from their relationship. When he finds out that his ex is now seeing an older "baldy" fellow, he decides that he'll win her back one way or another. Meanwhile, John's faithful friend and co-worker, Oscar (David Wilmot), struggles to find his own personal happiness. The scenes with these two friends chatting about love or sex during work or at a bar are some of the most humorous but realistic. In one particular scene, Oscar makes a confession that only a true friend like John would understand or might even want to hear.

While these two fellows go looking for love or are learning to cope without it, we follow the story of John's ex-girlfriend, Deirdre (Kelly Macdonald) and her new "married" boyfriend, Sam (Michael McElhatton). Meanwhile, Sally (Shirley Henderson), Dierdre's younger sister, mourns her scorned past as she proudly wears a "Ronnie" (moustache) as a badge of shame. Henderson's performance as Sally is one of my favorites, although I'm sure it was a rather tricky one to pull off. She plays the character with obvious anger and hidden depression, yet she remains likable throughout, and that's a credit to her skills and charm as an actress.

Jerry Lynch (Colm Meany)
In other storylines, we meet a tough as nails cop, Jerry Lynch (Colm Meaney), whose only wish seems to be that someone recognize how important and good he is at his job. He ends up pairing up with filmmaker Ben Campion (Thomas O'Suilleabhain) who's tired of getting unfulfilling assignments and would rather film a darker film about Dublin's streets. Of course there is also Mick (Brian F. O'Byrne), a frustrated soul whose job as a bus driver seems to be his constant headache, while Lehiff (Colin Farrell) is a small time thief looking for a bigger score, all the while trying to evade Jerry.

Lehiff (Colin Farrell)
With this film, the director seems to have used a lot of hand held camera and really gets into the faces of his actors with plenty of close ups in various scenes. It works well, I feel, because it gives the audience a feeling of eavesdropping on conversations. Of course what I enjoyed the most about this film, and what I feel is its greatest strength, are the performances the actors give. A good example would be a scene where Sally meets her sister's new boyfriend, which quickly goes from friendly chatter to a nasty, uncomfortable interrogation. The looks on their faces and the way they speak to each other is a joy to watch. These guys can really act and neither of them mail it in nor ham it up. They simply act and feel natural.


The climax of the film nicely brings all the storylines together to a satisfying end. Intermission isn't a fast paced film, although the beginning of the film might have you believe otherwise. It takes its time, yet it's still enjoyable and never slow. It is full of many comical characters, funny facial expressions, and a heist that you just know will not end up well.

 For more information visit there IMBD page:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0332658/

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