Spinning eleven interwoven tales of life and love in working class Dublin, Intermission centres on John (Cillian Murphy), a miserable supermarket clerk who breaks up with his girlfriend, Deirdre (Kelly Macdonald), to test her loyalty, but finds himself dumped for a bald, married banker (Michael McElhatton). In a bid to enact revenge, he falls into cahoots with violent thief, Lehiff (Colin Farrell), who plans to loot the baldy’s bank while being tailed by an incompetent cop with a hefty God complex (Colm Meaney). Meanwhile, Deidre’s sister, Sally (Shirley Henderson), struggles to recover from an indecent assault involving handcuffs and defecation by grappling with the decision to shave off her moustache.
Intermission is essentially a postmodern romantic comedy that distantly borrows its oddball characterisations from Tarantino-esque British gangster flicks, embellishing them with a warm suburban humanity. Taut storylines skip seamlessly between the goofily comic, the quirkily romantic, and the startlingly violent, as each of the characters tumble headlong toward their various comeuppances. Lighter moments are counterbalanced with unadulterated longing and loneliness while violence springs so far out of left field that it resonates with the force of a slap to the face.
Even when the film collapses into a merry rom-com conclusion, the predominant atmosphere is ultimately one of sentimental genuineness. Through his deft interlacing of life’s darkest and most ridiculously facetious moments, director John Crowley (who triumphed recently with the Oscar nominated period drama, Brooklyn) has constructed a clever comic fable that speaks fondly of a generation of misfits and malcontents.