Poster of film called Intermission, 2003

Movie Review: Intermission (2003) A “Romantic Thriller” That Parodies Itself

Intermission, director John Crowley’s first film, is supposed to be a film about “life is what happens in between” two major events; that is, an intermission.

But the ending proves the reverse – that, no matter what happens during the intermission, the RESUMPTION of the pre-intermission process towards the MEANINGFUL CULMINATION of one’s life scenario is what counts.

That’s why this successful romantic-thriller (a rarity in itself) ends up becoming its own parody. A good film with the wrong log line.

The setting is Dublin, a city of misfits with heavy accents, egomaniac police detectives and supermarket bosses, spurned lovers, middle-aged cheaters with the gray-itch, small-time crooks, simple hearts yearning for undying love … in short, a city like many others around the world.

This is the story of John (Cillian Murphy) and his girlfriend Deirdre (Kelly Macdonald) who takes up with a middle-aged bank manager who leaves his wife for Deidre’s much younger offerings. Then there’s Lehiff (Colin Farrell), good for nothing bum who is chased and humiliated by the sadist gas-bag cop Jerry (Colm Meaney) whose main mission in life is to become a TV celebrity starring in his own cop reality show.

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When John agrees to be part of a heist plot to win back Deirdre, the story engine shifts into high gear. After some obligatory twists and turns the story reaches its nerve-soothing climax that again revolves around our two main characters: John and Deirdre.

Colin Farrell and Colm Meaney are so good as villains one wonders if they are actually acting or not.

The bottom line is this: are you ready to affirm your love upfront and confirm the responsibility of that decision, or will you continue to dance around waiting to be “discovered” as a lover? That’s the main question asked in Intermission, a question that’s answered well, in  nuanced strokes.

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There’s one late scene between the two lovers, talking straight from the heart for the first time with zero BS, that almost brought tears to my eyes. That’s the kind of “thriller” this is. It’s a man’s action thriller that crosses the finish line as a chick-flick. That’s a hard balance to toe.

Recommended.

 

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