Cillian Murphy as John in Intermission (2003)

Brown Sauce in Tea Anyone?

"Intermission" was released in the same year as "Love Actually" and it shares some similarities to the romantic comedy favourite because not only do we have a multi-character, multi-story set up which interweave we also have plot lines about love. But "Intermission" isn't purely a romantic comedy, it also has a touch of "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" going on with various crime plot lines and a shock factor which establishes itself from the word go. And all of this is played out with a very dry, very Irish sense of humour which in the end makes it at times hilarious but also at times a bit of a slog. Basically "Intermission" ends up entertainingly curious as it crams so much in via stories which whilst connecting are really unrelated.

John dumped his girlfriend Deirdre a few weeks ago in a strange sort of test which back fires when he learns she has got a new man in bank manager Sam. Lehiff is following Sam because he has plans to rob the bank and involves Mick, a bus driver who has been in an accident when a young boy through a rock at his bus. Deirdre's mum and sister Sally had just got off the bus and Sally finds herself struggling with life after a bad relationship where she was dumped and dumped on quite literally but brings her in to contact with Oscar, John's best friend. But first Oscar finds himself getting involved with Noleen, Sam's wife who he has left for Deirdre. And then there is Jerry a policeman who hates Lehiff and has TV producer Ben wanting to make a show about him.

Colm Meaney as Jerry Lynch in Intermission (2003)

So as you can see "Intermission" is your classic multi-character and multi-storyline movie where we have several little and mostly unrelated plotlines which end up connecting through friendships and relationships. It is nothing new and in many ways those in this movie are the most unrelated which makes it a huge contrivance in the way they all end up interlinking. And it is such a mismatch of stories because on one hand we have stories of love as John wants Deirdre back and Oscar is struggling with any form of love whilst we then have the violence of Jerry and Lehiff. It is part of the reason why at times "Intermission" doesn't work because it is such a diverse selection of stories which only connect via some big contrivances.

But then in a way "Intermission" is not so much about the narrative arc of each story, although each of them have an arc, but more about the mix of humour and shock. Now straight away we get shock and director John Crowley doesn't hold back when in a scene we witness a young woman talking about chemistry to Lehiff ending up with a broken nose. It takes you aback and the entire movie is full of these darker, shocking moments from Jerry pinning a man against a wall and peeing on him to various moments of action often involving vehicles crashing.

But this element of shock is so extreme it is darkly funny and very dry, in fact the humour in "Intermission" is so dry that if you are not use to it you will struggle. Again it is a diverse selection of humour, so you go from the humour of Jerry being this tough cop with a TV producer following him around to John enjoying brown sauce in tea. Yes you did read that right "Intermission" introduces us to brown sauce in tea which when anyone tries it say it is delicious, trust me brown sauce in tea is not delicious. It is all very strange and whilst some of it works there is plenty of humour such as Sally with her Ronnie not really getting the laughs intended.

Never the less whilst "Intermission" is at times hit and miss there is not a bad performance in the movie and every actor from Colin Farrell to Colm Meaney impress. In fact whilst "Intermission" has several well no names and faces some of the more enjoyable performances come from the supporting cast none more so that the cheeky little yob who throws the rock at the bus. That may sound daft but the way this story ends is brilliant, darkly funny and shocking and much of that is thanks to the young boy.

What this all boils down to is that "Intermission" is your multi-character, multi-storyline movie where miraculously everything some how connects. It is hit and miss with some of the dark, dry humour misfiring but in the end it is an experience you won't forget, just don't be fooled by brown source in tea, it is disgusting.