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Intermission | Review

Coffee and Cosmologically

The flip side of Love Actually serves up different portraits of people on the rebound.

T.V super-guru Dr. Phil would have his hands full and have several hours’ worth of on-air counseling with this core of hoodlums, lowlifes, adulterers, men who can’t share their feelings and women with low self-esteem and “Tom Selleck’s”. Roll-up your sleeves for director John Crowley’s fast-paced multiple-character, multiple-narrative rollercoaster ride, one that sometimes hits hard like an unexpected car-crash, while at the same time nurtures the wounded soul with a delicate touch.

Intermission comes across like a hardcore version of Magnolia, strained individuals learn to deal with the void of their past relationships taking temporary breaks from jousting with their former lovers. Lehiff (Cillian Murphy – 28 Days Later) is one among the town’s injured spirits, he literally and figuratively masks his true feelings-thus complicating how he’ll get his girl back, played by sweat-tart Kelly MacDonald of Trainspotting fame. Topping the testosterone-filled cast of pissed-off, pissed-on and pissed-drunk Irishmen is Colin Farrell (Phone Booth) whose pit-bull personality makes him victim to a life of criminality as he butts heads with an infamous local cop (Colm Meaney – The Van) who dreams of documentary-film stardom.

Stripped bare of a glossy production, this gritty portrait of interweaving tales makes for a different, surprisingly good-tasting brew. Captured with a familiar frenetic tone as witnessed in similar U.K productions such as Trainspotting means that the switch of gears works well in dispersing the elements of dark humor and drama. The use of hand-held jittery camera movements adds to the film’s chaos theory, but its Crowley’s experience as a theater director seems to amplify the gnarly performances he gets from his ensemble cast. Perhaps the high tempo activity and number of characters makes for simple character descriptions, but the compassionate exchanges between characters is amusingly theatrical.

Mark O’Rowe’s script is a solid plot-twisting of collision course nature; we are never sure what the film reserves for its characters, luck of the Irish applies to only some of its inhabitants. While the film addresses relationship issues, Intermission is hardly a date-flick. Instead, Crowley’s film is an easily enjoyable watch, full of movement, darkness, compassion and raw energy and look for Colin Farrell’s singing debut with a drunken patron’s version of The Clash’s “I Fought the Law”.

Rating 3 stars

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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