A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
Here is a movie where the characters discover that brown steak sauce tastes great in coffee, where a TV producer wants "more reality" after filming a rabbit race, where a cop's car is stolen while he's carrying out a drug bust, where . . . but "Intermission" goes on and on, in a tireless series of inventions, like a plot-generating machine in overdrive. That it succeeds is some kind of miracle; there's enough material here for three bad films, and somehow it becomes one good one.
The movie is a dark comedy — no, make that a dark, dark, dark comedy — set in Dublin and starring more or less everyone in town. That its cast includes Colin Farrell, now a big movie star, is less remarkable than the fact that the cast is so large and colorful that we sometimes lose track of him. Here is yet more evidence that "Pulp Fiction" was the most influential movie of recent years, as eccentric characters with distinctive verbal styles coil around a plot involving romance, betrayal, kidnapping, bank robbery and a lot of brown sauce. Whether the sauce is Dad's or HP, the two favorite brands in Ireland, is impossible to say, perhaps because both sauce manufacturers preferred to keep their labels out of this movie.
Like "Pulp Fiction," the movie begins with sweet talk that suddenly turns violent, as Lehiff (Farrell) betrays a hard side. We meet his mates, including John (Cillian Murphy), who hates his job in a supermarket, and Oscar (David Wilmot), who despairs of finding a girlfriend and is advised to target older ladies, who will be grateful for his attention. Meanwhile, John breaks up with his girlfriend, Deidre (Kelly Macdonald), who begins dating married bank manager Sam (Michael McElhatton), while Sam's abandoned wife, Noeleen (Deirdre O'Kane, not to be confused with the character Deidre), goes to a lonely-hearts dance and meets, of course, Oscar.
But to summarize the plot is insanity. There are a dozen major characters whose lives intersect in romance, crime and farce; the screenplay by Mark O'Rowe is so ingenious and energetic that we almost don't feel like we're being jerked around. The other character who must be introduced is Jerry Lynch (Colm Meaney), who has watched too many cop reality shows and thinks he should star in one himself. Oh, and I should mention Sally (Shirley Henderson), who after a tragic disappointment in love has become a recluse and doesn't seem to realize she has enough of a mustache to be referred to occasionally as Burt Reynolds. Her character brings a new dimension to the classic movie scene in which a plain girl is told she would be beautiful if she got rid of the glasses/braces/bangs, etc.