Cinema Signal:

English Heritage, English Cinema:
Costume Drama Since 1980

. "Intermission"

Interweaving several lives and convoluted plots, this Irish film follows the ripple effect of random events that come from a bad decision and happenstance. Our choices and actions have consequences that sometimes we cannot see.

Hoping his girlfriend Dierdre (Kelly Macdonald) would be upset and cling to him, desiring love and marriage, John (Cillian Murphy) tells her that he needs space. His strategy backfires, and Dierdre lets John go and embarks on another course, developing a relationship with an older, married man, Sam (Michael McElhatton). John's friend Lehiff (Colin Farrell) perpetrates a kidnapping and robbery with several unlikely, down and out partners, including John who has to kidnap Dierdre.

Dierdre's sister, Sally (Shirley Henderson) dares to sport (or ignore) her moustache even on camera and winds up facing life's harsh realities, recovering from her previous, damaging relationship and finding not only her self-esteem again but unconditional love in an old friend.

A mischievous boy weaves in and out of the story, seeming to represent fate or malevolent choices, causing accidents with both innocent and vile victims, sometimes tragic and other times just ordinary. A bus crash, car crashes, people left lonely through circumstances or an adulterous affair, robberies and unexpected delays - can choices be undone and courses altered?

In a somewhat disconnected subplot, a `Dirty Harry' detective, Jerry (Colm Meany) wants his unorthodox methods recorded for television and convinces a reporter to follow him around with a camera as he tries to catch the thief, Lehiff, and become famous. Numerous intersecting lives affect each other, as all search for love and recognition in different ways, some finding it unexpectedly.

A well-acted and interesting dark comedy, but the convoluted writing that throws out ill fitting jigsaw pieces that you're required to fit together becomes the biggest drawback. Somehow, the puzzle comes together in the end, and the ride is worthwhile. Steadycam gives it a home-movie, realism quality, as does following the cameraman around. Overall, InterMission is an interesting art film requiring concentration with a rewarding payoff.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  

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Shirley Henderson
Taking an intermission

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