Intermission [2003]

The rough-edged vitality of contemporary Irish filmmaking is readily apparent in Intermission, a deliriously ambitious black comedy in which 54 characters and 11 plotlines compete for consistently impressive screen-time. In a dazzling display of audacity, screenwriter Mark O'Rowe and first-time director John Crowley jump from one plot to another, tangling their characters in an infectious series of intersecting events, shifting from scenes of brutal violence, poignant compassion, and richly dark humor, and somehow managing to make it all fit together in a miraculously coherent tapestry of romance, crime, and authentic Dublin atmosphere. Colin Farrell and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine alumnus Colm Meaney are the familiar stars here, and they're in peak form on native soil, but the entire cast shines in equal measure, all of them playing malcontents striving for something better in a world that's simultaneously harsh and hilarious. From start to finish, Intermission is so full of surprises that you'll want to see it twice, just to marvel at the way its puzzle fits together. --Jeff Shannon

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