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Comedy and action intersect violently

Ensemble cast can't save 'Intermission,' a tedious film about ordinary Dubliners.

March 19, 2004|Kevin Thomas | Times Staff Writer

"Intermission" has one of the most misleading openings in recent memory. Colin Farrell's Lehiff is turning on his charm full force for a Dublin cafe waitress only to sock her in the jaw and grab the cash from her register. By the end of the credits he's on top of a moving car, threatening to smash its windshield unless the driver hands over his vehicle.

Introducing itself as a needlessly violent action picture, "Intermission" turns out to be a tedious and under-inspired comedy about a dozen all-too-ordinary Dubliners leading lives of not-so-quiet desperation that intersect with one another improbably.

John (Cillian Murphy), who works with his pal Oscar (David Wilmot) at a vast supermarket run by a petty tyrant (Owen Rowe), sets an intricate plot in motion when he blows up at his girlfriend, Deirdre (Kelly Macdonald), foolishly accusing her of infidelity. This propels her into an affair with a married bank manager, Sam (Michael McElhatton), which prompts the wife (Deirdre O'Kane) to take out her rage at her husband on sweet-natured Oscar when he becomes her lover. Lehiff in turn pops up to recruit John in a heist of Sam's bank.

Numerous other subplots are unduly intriguing or even worth discussing, but the most heavy-handed involves a frustrated junior TV producer (Tom O'Sullivan) struggling to document the activities of a hot-headed, loose-cannon cop (Colm Meaney).

The large ensemble cast is more than game, but writer Mark O'Rowe lacks the imagination in making ordinary lives seem in any way captivating, leaving director John Crowley to work doggedly in making the trite amusing. It was admirable of Farrell to lend his star power to such a modest enterprise, but it unfortunately has turned out to be a waste of time.



MPAA rating: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence.

Times guidelines: Strong language and violence, adult themes and situations. Inappropriate for children.

Cillian Murphy...John

Kelly Macdonald...Deirdre

Colin Farrell...Lehiff

Colm Meaney...Jerry

David Wilmot...Oscar

An IFC Films presentation in association with Company of Wolves and Parallel Films. Director John Crowley. Producers Steve Woolley, Neil Jordan and Alan Moloney. Executive producers Paul Trijbits, Rod Stoneman, Tristan Whalley. Screenplay by Mark O'Rowe. Cinematographer Ryszard Lenczewski. Editor Lucia Zuchetti. Costumes Lorna Marie Mugan. Running time: 1 hour, 46 minutes.

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