A review of “Intermission” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: R for extreme language and violence

Run Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

 

 

The quest for romantic happiness is often a bumpy journey.  Never more so than in this quirky, Irish six-degrees-of-separation tale that chooses the roundabout route to happily ever after.

Insecurity takes center stage when John (Cillian Murphy of 28 Days Later) dumps his long-time girlfriend in the hopes that she will refuse his decision and dive headfirst into a lifelong commitment.  Deirdre (Kelly Macdonald) has other plans; quickly meeting and bedding a married man many years her senior (think mid-life crisis on his part).

Meanwhile, rootless Lehiff (be-still-my-heart Colin Farrell) is skirting romantic entanglements and petty thieving his way to an idealized retirement.  Hot on Lehiff’s heels is egocentric maverick detective Jerry Lynch (Colm Meaney), who would rather bag the bad guy on reality TV than actually work for a living or let a woman get the better of him.

One life collides with another while peripheral players offer their narrative two cent’s worth.  Deirdre’s sister Sally (the fabulous Shirley Henderson) is recovering from a bad bout with a twisted bloke and has retreated into her shell, wounded and hilariously cynical.  John’s best friend and hopeless romantic Oscar (David Wilmot) is looking for love in all the wrong places, ultimately enduring a fiery affair with the scorned wife of Deirdre’s new squeeze. 

Intermission’s gears are smoothly greased and generally mesh with ease.  Subplot piles on subplot, rarely losing ground and setting the stage for a grand climax.  The last act finds the cast at the breaking point, where the film goes terminally south, settling on a diaphanous conclusion.

No faulting the performances; Murphy, Henderson, Macdonald, Farrell and Meaney proudly exhibit their Irish temperament with charming Gaelic flair.  For the realistic, and not so realistic, romantic.