Intermission is a strange film. It seems to be many different movies, rolled into one, uncomfortable ride.

I don’t get Ireland, I really don’t. The culture is beyond me. The people are interminably strange. They have lots more sex than us. It’s ok for a kid to throw rocks at a bus, causing it to flip onto its side. Bizarre. It’s the place where a tattooed freak like Colin Farrell is money. I wish I understood them, but I just don’t.

Maybe that’s the reason that Intermission didn’t work for me. There are some good performances and interesting characters, and yet I was really struggling during this film. Its violence is thoughtless and widespread; its characters make strange choices, either reflecting a lack of choice endemic in Ireland, or a lack of self esteem. Why do these people act like this?

The fact that I recognised one of the actors, Shirley Henderson, as being the wife of a close mate didn’t help things – it was quite distracting actually. She is absolutely a dead-spit for Elaine, for those of you who know her! Also, Cillian Murphy annoyed me until I realised he was the guy in the trailer for 28 Days Later, after which time he receded into the background nicely.

The director does do a good job of bringing together the disparate stories (I am resisting a comparison to Love Actually – oops, I failed to resist, sorry). For a first film, he does a very good job indeed. Some of the editing frustrated me, but that is my pet peev, and the style is hand-held documentary, so it kinda fits. The soundtrack is interesting, although it concerns me a little that I actually like some of the bands mentioned by Colm Meaney, as he is such an ugly character.

Intermission is not for the faint-hearted. It’s like Trainspotting crossed with Love Actually – a mixed bag of interrelated stories, with a touch of violence and disrespect to counter the themes of romance and togetherness. I didn’t love it, but you might.

Rating: 2.5 stars
Review by Mark Lavercombe, 1st January 1970
Hoopla Factor: 1.5 stars

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