Review by Gordon Justesen
Colin Farrell, Shirley Henderson, Kelly MacDonald, Colm Meaney, Cillian Murphy
Director: John Crowley
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 106 Minutes
Release Date: October 19, 2004
thing of it is, see; you just never know…what's going to happen."
perhaps the most defining title a film of this sort could ever hope to have.
structure in films seems to become more challenging and daring as years go by.
Such breakthrough films like Pulp Fiction
and Memento have broken the rules of
how a story can be told. Even films like Go,
which was no doubt influenced by Tarantino's film, have taken cinematic
storytelling to an entirely new level. Not only have American films acquired
this technique, but it has surfaced overseas, as Intermission genuinely illustrates.
Not only is Intermission
composed of the winning elements of Pulp
Fiction, but it's very reminiscent of such overseas triumphs as Snatch, Trainspotting and even the recent Love Actually. It offers dozens of surprises along the way, not to
mention quite a bang of an opening scene, where a charming conversation leads to
an unexpected incident. The balance of tone is something the film achieves very
greatly. This is quite possibly the first film I've seen in quite some time that
balances violence, love, and humor perfectly.
interweaves an assortment of characters in and around Dublin, mostly involving
petty lowlifes, cops, and others who are experiencing a crisis in their lives,
mostly involving relationships. At the heart of the dark side of the story is a
hood named Lehiff (Colin Farrell), whose associates are John (Cillian Murphy)
and Oscar (David Wilmot), two hapless employees at a town grocery store.
John has just
broken up with longtime girlfriend Deidre (Kelly MacDonald), and is currently
having second thoughts about his actions. When Deidre begins dating bank manager
Sam (Michael McElhatton), a much older man, John is entirely certain he made an
error and attempts to win her back. Sam, as it turns out, left his wife for
Deidre. A few nights later, the newly abandoned wife hooks up with love-starved
Oscar at a singles bar.
Have I confused you
already? Promise me when I tell you that it'll all make sense when you watch it.
characters include the reclusive Sally (Shirley Henderson), who has just
experienced a traumatic relationship outcome. As if that weren't enough, she is
constantly being heckled for the slightly noticeable mustache she has obtained.
Lastly, there's Jerry Lynch (Colm Meaney), an egotistical Dublin cop who wants
to expose his image by having a documentary film crew shoot his exploits, much
like the show Cops.
The crucial story
point that will eventually tie everything and bring the assorted characters
together, for more reasons that one, is a kidnapping/bank robbery incident.
Without giving too much away, it all involves a complicated plot constructed by
John that will help him win back his former love, even though at this point he
isn't using his head. The series of events which follow the execution of this
incident occur in such an unpredictable manner, that I was seriously unaware of
what was going to happen next.
First time director
John Crowley and screenwriter Mark O'Rowe have made quite an impressionable
debut feature. Credit Crowley for knowing how to guide the audience through such
an extended maze, and O'Rowe for being able to create so many memorable
characters while at the same time maintaining a fast pace, frenetic whirlwind of
a story. And lastly, the entire
cast should be commended for a marvelous job well done.
As far as the cast
is concerned, I'd like to focus on Colin Farrell. Although this is a supporting
role, it's purely riveting to witness Farrell, who's played countless American
roles and is now a leading man here in the states, rip into his thick Irish
accent to play such a ferocious character as Lehiff. I remember seeing Farrell
in his first film, Tigerland, where he
played a hard case soldier with a southern dialect, and thinking to myself that
this is the most talented southern actor I've ever seen. When I found out
Farrell was Irish, I couldn't believe it. Other than maybe Daredevil, I don't think he's ever donned his original accent. To be
honest, I'm sure many people have forgotten that he is an Irish lad. His intense
work in Intermission is a pure
reminder of that.
If anything, Intermission
is an engaging, head spinning achievement, visually crafted and superbly
executed. It's probably the single best Irish import to come around probably
since The Commitments in 1991. One thing's certain, if you're seeking some
variety in a movie, look no further than this, because you'll probably get every
ingredient you so desire.
presentation from MGM is well handled, especially when you take into account the
movie was shot in the Super 16 format, which has its limits when transferred to
this format. The setting of Dublin looks nothing short of astonishing, with
beautiful countryside landscapes providing elegant scenery. Some shots have
obtained of level of murkiness and slight grain, but that's all clearly
attributed to the film stock. In short, this is quite a well made presentation.
Like the film
itself, the audio presentation delivers the unexpected. The 5.1 mix ranges from
moments of subtlety to moments of explosive sound. In addition to individual
sequences of violent tension, the music plays a vital role in the sound
performance. Among the songs played are U2's "Out of Control" and
"I Fought the Law" by Colin Farrell, are extremely well received by
channels. The all around presentation, dialogue delivery and all, offers a
surprising feast of dynamic range where you would least expect it.
Featured are two
deleted scenes and a trailer, as well as bonus preview of additional MGM