Saturday, July 24, 2010

Intermission (2003)

All right: You've long given yourself permission to be sick and tired of serio-comic-tragic movies built of intricately interwoven lives/plots. But before you leave that busy little corner of cinema for good, watch Intermission, an Irish film that draws in Cillian Murphy, Colin Farrell, Kelly MacDonald, a mustachioed Shirley Henderson, and the always-dependable Colm Meaney*--plus many more--into a kidnap-romance-heist-farce that also manages to be a movie about waiting for one's life to resume--or resolve itself.

Given the strangeness of the characters and the complexities of their relationships and schemes, Intermission could've easily fallen into terminal Irish whimsicality. But between its U2-tinged soundtrack--with a nice turn by Farrell on "I Fought the Law"--and the nastiness of even some of the local children, the movie never gets too cute. Even as a love story--which it mostly is--Intermission knows that love can stink, but also that most of us are ready to give up everything (even love itself, if you know what I mean) to take that leap into another's arms.

The cast helps in this effort enormously, never winking at the camera, always sprinting full-tilt along the whoopsy-daisy plot--of which there's enough for three or four pictures, but Intermission doesn't feel bloated or forced. It just keeps its hands on the wheel, stubbornly refusing advice, taking the corners a bit too fast--but that's where the fun is.

*Almost fifteen years before Juno, Meaney delights in Stephen Frears' The Snapper, in which he plays a clueless Da who has to learn how to be a good father to his pregnant daughter.

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