For those of you who never saw ‘The Safety of Objects,’ you’re getting a second chance to experience an ensemble cast at its best.
Already exhausted by its explosive reign at Irish box offices, ‘Intermission’ is sure to stun, captivate and maybe even confuse, at least at the outset.
First-time film director John Crowley joined forces with playwright Mark O’Rowe to create an intriguing look at a contemporary, honest search for love using the interactions of 54 characters.
Insecure about his relationship with girlfriend Deirdre (Kelly Macdonald, ‘Trainspotting’), John (Cillian Murphy, ’28 Days Later’) decides to test her love for him by breaking up with her. Instead of begging broken-heartedly as John had hoped, Deirdre rebounds with an older married man (Michael McElhatton) and the backfiring of John’s plan initiates a series of events affecting everyone around him.
The essence of ‘Intermission’ is in the desperate measures taken by desperate characters to track down their own personal ideas of love. There are the obvious players: John’s best friend Oscar (David Wilmot) is desperate for a connection but is simply looking in all the wrong places; Deirdre’s sister Sally (Shirley Henderson, ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’) has been emotionally scarred by a dysfunctional long-term relationship and has therefore retreated inward; Noeleen (Deirdre O’Kane) is shaken by her husband’s decision to leave her; and Mick (Brian F. O’Byrne) just wants to be able to afford the new kitchen of his wife’s dreams.
There are also the not-so-obvious characters in search of love. Loner detective Jerry (Colm Meaney) focuses determinedly on his own personal campaign against crime, perhaps in order to claim that he has no time for love, which is why he doesn’t have it. Lehiff (Farrell) is a thief who just wants to pull off a big enough ‘job’ to let him settle down, and he eventually employs John and Oscar to help him out.
The various intertwinings of the plot and its characters initially convey confusion; it’s not immediately possible to follow and therefore understand who the characters are and what they are working towards. Scenes are brief and choppy, assisted by the use of bumpy filming and unique camera angles. This was new territory for Crowley, whose previously directed stage performances.
But the quick scene changes soon expose themselves as advantages rather than drawbacks to the film, and unsteady cameras become inconsequential. The swift cuts from one scene to another actually help supply the film its personality, drawing the characters together in a rapid sequence that leads to the film’s ambiguous moment of climax. ‘Intermission’ then winds quickly but delicately to a close that generates a surprisingly upbeat note.
With quick shifts in scenes, it is difficult to pin down one actor and analyze his or her talents. It could just be that the actors were so rightly cast that the film borrowed some of its success from the jolting yet organic flow from character to character. Murphy portrayed an easily likeable John, Farrell was a convincing bad boy and Macdonald was altogether successful in portraying an innocent yet determined beauty confused by rejection but determined to make the most of it with a new dysfunctional relationship. Meaney adds an interesting character quirk to the production, with a mean streak and a bad attitude that doesn’t quite fit the mold created by the other characters until the very end.
‘Intermission’ can be interpreted as a quirky comedy with dramatic undertones. While characters are essentially looking for love on their own terms, they are in the meantime planning botched robberies, consuming brown sauce (kind of like ketchup) with coffee, dodging thrown rocks and mixing it up at senior singles clubs.
On the flip side, some scenes are graphic and harshly portrayed, but not necessarily brutally so. For example, while holding her hostage, Lehiff punches Deirdre in the face.
This film’s success cannot be measured by its individual character analyzes but by the sum of its parts; the puzzle must be pieced together in order to employ fair judgment. ‘Intermission’ was not at its most likeable until the conclusion, which is when the audience is made to understand that ‘life is what happens in between.’
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
By Maya Debbaneh
Don’t you just love those heartwarming romantic comedies
that somehow always finish off with the two unusually good-looking lovers spending the rest of their charming lives together after overcoming trivial, yet hilarious obstacles? While we all have a place in our hearts for these pleasant films, most of us (I hope) realize that these movies are often a gross distortion of reality.
Although still romantic and yet darkly comedic, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ is a refreshing slap in the face to everyone who has ever hoped for a happily-ever-after relationship that is so common on the Hollywood screen these days.
The impressive background of the filmmakers alone is enough to create a great deal of anticipation for this film. The original screenplay, written by Charlie Kaufman, who also wrote screenplays for ‘Being John Malkovich,’ ‘Adaptation,’ and ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,’ provided a strong story line and highly developed characters.
In addition, director Michel Gondry, whose previous directing experience included the film ‘Human Nature’ and the famous White Stripes’ ‘Fell in Love with a Girl’ music video, brought a spontaneous and less regulated style of filmmaking to the set.
This film is a very realistic look at the ever-so fascinating subject of love, with added unrealistic factors to get you thinking: What is the worth of a relationship, even one that has ended completely broken?
The film’s main story line is that of Joel Barish and Clementine Kruczynski, who were once in a chaotic relationship together. Joel, played by Jim Carrey, finds out that his girlfriend Clementine, played by Kate Winslet, has erased him and their relationship from her memory, and decides he should do the same. However, as he undergoes the process, he begins to recall memories of their relationship, both happy and unpleasant, and realizes that despite their difficult relationship, he no longer wants to forget her. Joel is then forced to hide Clementine within his deepest memories, to keep her from being erased.
Each character was well cast and showed the once unfamiliar abilities of many of the actors. Both Carrey and Winslet chose roles that they both have not usually played. While Carrey’s character was the mostly serious, insecure protagonist of the film, which is quite different from his typically more upbeat roles, he certainly proved himself as a dramatic actor. On the other hand, Winslet’s more commonly refined character was replaced by a vivacious, confused and impulsive role that contrasted greatly with Carrey’s.
Although there are certain moments the film that has elements of an imaginary nature, the core ideas in the movie aim to give the audience a comprehensive view of all sides of a human relationship