Rather than battling the crowded bars and stepping over puddles of green beer, why not take in a movie on St. Patrick's Day?
This 2003 Irish ensemble piece is an entertaining and fast-paced romantic comedy, but with plenty of violence and crime, isn't a typical rom-com at all.
He explains “love’s not something that you plan for”, and she starts buying into his advances while playing with her necklace and conveying warm smiles.
Suddenly, the conversation’s tone dramatically changes, and you soon realize “Intermission” might travel down many more unexpected roads.
Directed by John Crowley, he offers an edgy and strong ensemble piece - through plenty of hand-held camerawork - in which (about) a dozen Dubliners’ lives intersect.
Most of the characters search for love, but a few others look for violence and trouble.
John dumped her a few weeks back, but has second thoughts when he discovers Deirdre started dating another man.
He has a bad case of “you don’t know what you had until she's gone", but she’s already moving on.
John’s best friend, Oscar (David Wilmot), is single, but can’t seem to find the right person, and together they trudge through their melancholy existence while stocking shelves at a local supermarket.
Meanwhile a bus driver is down on his luck, an early 20-something woman still feels the sting of betrayal, a cop is too tough for his own good, and a 14-year marriage ends.
In the world of rom-coms, the various players connect through random circumstances, but the serendipitous events are paramount to embrace the basic story lines and themes.
After experiencing “Intermission”, I found it difficult to quantify the overall message Crowley and writer Mark O’Rowe tried to communicate, but that's okay.
While John struggles to shake his recent relationship mistake, the film moves to other characters’ ways of solving problems: violence via fists and guns.
The tones are certainly dramatic and dark, but are balanced with acts of comedy and the fallibility of the human condition.
Through the magic of editing and writing, the film nicely maneuvers through the shifts in moods, and succeeds with the help of engaging performances from the cast.
Macdonald, Murphy, Farrell, and Shirley Henderson are especially good.
They offer intriguing glimpses into the lives of people struggling to find their way amongst a clouded backdrop.
Crime and love are in the air, but when a film also swings to visuals like an attempted bunny rabbit race and a paralyzed man drinking Guinness from a straw, it will also never bore.
Follow me on Twitter: @MitchFilmCritic