Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Intermission

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
3 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: R

Starring:
Colin Farrell as Lehiff
Cillian Murphy as John
Brian F. O'Byrne as Mick
David Wilmot as Oscar
Owen Roe as Mr. Henderson
Neilí Conroy as Helen
Kelly Macdonald as Deirdre
John Rogan as Alfred
Tom Farrelly as George
Gerry Moore as Seamus Ruane
Colm Meaney as Jerry Lynch
Deirdre O'Kane as Noeleen
Michael McElhatton as Sam
Ger Ryan as Maura
Tomas O'Suilleabhain as Ben Campion
Pat Laffan as Charlie O'Brien
Rory Keenan as Anthony Lowry
Darragh Kelly as Thomas Downes
Shirley Henderson as Sally
Simon Delaney as Bill
Ruth McCabe as Celia
Jane Brennan as Mrs. Rooney
Michael Hayes as Garda Officer
Stewart Donnan as Cathal
Karl Sheils as Wayne

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes

Original Theatrical Trailer

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Synopsis:
This is a hard plot to summarize, so I'm just going to offer you the official synopsis of the film:

"In the suburbs of Dublin, more than a dozen strangers find their paths colliding in sometimes violent, sometimes absurd ways. Setting the chain of events in motion is Lehiff, a small time crook whose most recent petty theft has him on the run from Jerry, a self-aggrandizing police detective who's even more full of himself now that he being constantly trailed by a TV news documentary crew. Meanwhile, Lehiff's friend John is going through a trial breakup - or "intermission," as he calls it - with his girlfriend Deirdre, who has promptly taken up with the older, more conventionally responsible bank manager Sam. When Lehiff suggests that the answer to all of his and John's troubles is to set up Sam and rob his vaults, John's too eager to comply and their plan spells dire consequences for everyone in their immediate circle of relations."

"Intermission" is rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence.

The Movie:
The most interesting thing about "Intermission" is that fact that it introduces a large number of characters, develops intriguing back stories for all of them, then subsequently ties them all together for a big finish. It's hardly a new idea, but it takes some skill to make it work. The creators of this movie were fortunately up to the task. I'd get into the plot more but to do so would ruin it, not to mention the fact that it is so elaborate that it would be hard to lay out for you. I will say that the film is very fast paced and they pack a lot of character development into a short time span.

The cast of this film is first rate. Central to the story is Cillian Murphy as John. You may know him from 28 Days Later or as the Scarecrow from Batman Begins. His failed romance with Deirdre is what drives a lot of the plot. John is responsible for most of the problems in his relationship with her, but he still ends up being a lovable loser. He walks a fine line between being a hero and a thug, but you still like him anyway. Speaking of thugs, Colin Farrell is also excellent as Lehiff. Farrell makes you hate his character within the first few minutes of the film. It's quite an accomplishment. He never really redeems himself through the rest of the film and he, too, is key to the final resolution of the plot. Colm Meaney (from Star Trek) plays Jerry Lynch, the tough cop that is on Lehiff's tail. Lynch has a huge chip on his shoulder and an ego to go with it. When a TV producer asks to do a documentary about him, this further motivates him to flaunt his authority.

The rest of the supporting cast is also good. Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter) steps out on a limb to play Sally, the depressing young woman with a moustache. She's definitely the least glamorous of the characters, but you root for her to find romance by the end. Kelly Macdonald (Trainspotting) plays her sister Deirdre. She's cute and charming, but you have to wonder what her character would see in a middle aged balding bank manager. The rest of the supporting cast, and there are a lot of them, are also excellent.

The Irish setting of the film was quite unique. This story really could have taken place anywhere in the world, but the Dublin backdrop gives it a unique twist. The only problem I had with it was that I frequently found the Irish accent hard to understand. I'm around people with foreign accents all day every day at work, but I still had to really concentrate to understand what they said. Even then I only picked up about 90% of it. While I'm griping, I have to say that I thought the camerawork was way too shaky for my tastes. It looks like the camera operator was a 5 year old hopped up on sugar and caffeine. It moves around and zooms in and out quite a bit.

The soundtrack from the film was also quite good. It was a mix of pop, rock, and other types of music that gave the film an energetic sound to match its fast pace. Listen for U2 and The Magnetic Fields, too.

I think if you liked Trainspotting and other such Irish films with large casts, you'll probably enjoy Intermission.

The Extras:
There's only one bonus feature included on this DVD and it's two deleted scenes. One shows John and his friend rehearsing fight moves in the grocery storeroom in an effort to win Deirdre back. It is immediately followed up by a second deleted scene where their manager takes them to task for goofing off. Neither scene is that spectacular and nothing was missed by leaving them out. I was disappointed that they didn't include any "making-of" features or commentaries for additional bonus features.

The Bottom Line:
"Intermission" is an interesting film with an excellent cast and an elaborate plot that is neatly tied up by the end.

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