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Film / Intermission

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Intermission (styled as interMission) is a 2003 Irish crime comedy film directed by John Crowley, starring Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy, Colm Meaney, Kelly Macdonald and Shirley Henderson.

The film is a raucous story of the interweaving lives and loves of small-town delinquents, shady cops, pretty good girls and very bad boys. With Irish guts and grit, lives collide, preconceptions shatter and romance is tested to the extreme. An ill-timed and poorly executed couple's break-up sets off a chain of events affecting everyone in town. There's the hapless romantic and his sex-starved best friend, the hotshot detective and the crook he's after, a young girl on the rebound with an older married man — not to mention his deserted wife, an ambitious TV producer, an abandoned fiancée, a preteen trouble-maker — all of whom are unaware of how their choices are profoundly intertwined. Add a botched robbery, some brown sauce, a woman's moustache, flying rocks and dancing single seniors and you have interMission.

Tropes exemplified by this work include;

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Jerry Lynch's policing style.
  • Attention Whore: Jerry.
  • Bad Boss: John and Oscar's boss in the supermarket they work in.
  • Bait-and-Switch: At the beginning, Lehiff seems like he's flirting with the cashier from the coffee shop. When the last customer leaves, however, he reveals he's a thief, hits her, and robs the place.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Rare possibly unique female example - Sally, traumatized by an abusive relationship. "She's got a moustache! Whatever she was doing before, waxing, or shaving - she's stopped".
  • Beauty Inversion: Except for Deirdre O'Kane and Kelly Macdonald everybody's pretty scuzzy, and Shirley Henderson sports a moustache.
  • Black Comedy: This is the sort of film where a woman being exploited by her boyfriend, who then ties her up and defecates on her, is half-Played for Laughs.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The kid who throws a rock at the bus, causing it to crash, does the same thing to the Bad Boss in the ending.
    • The girl Lehiff decks in the opening scene appears later with a broken nose.
  • Broken Bird: Sally. She recovers in the end.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Sam whips out his penis to show it to Deirdre, just as her mother and sister walk in the door. He puts it back in his trousers just in time, but when Deirdre's mother offers her hand he's unsure if he should shake it or not.
  • Country Matters: As Lehiff is being chased by the police, he yells at them, "Come on, you hoopy cunts, youse!"
  • Cowboy Cop / Old-Fashioned Copper / Rabid Cop: Jerry Lynch.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted when Oscar walks out on Noeleen after she gets too rough in bed. Then played straight after this steels her to dish out a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on her husband, in the middle of his being an accessory to a bank robbery. The Stinger at the end of the film shows them back together, with her openly assaulting in order to keep him in line - and this is played for laughs. Just imagine if the film had been about a man beating up his unfaithful wife and then physically intimidating her once they're back together.
    • Just to emphasize the double standard, when Sally and Oscar get together, she asks him if he'd ever hit her and he insists that he wouldn't.
    • Inverted with Sally and her ex-boyfriend- his abuse of her is also played for laughs.
  • The Documentary: In-universe, On The Streets With Jerry Lynch.
  • Epic Fail: The bank heist.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The opening scene, which shows us that Lehiff is charming, a thief, and not afraid to Hit A Girl.
  • Girls With Mustaches: As noted under Beard of Sorrow, Sally has a mustache as a result of not shaving due to depression, despite being female.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Jerry's favourite style.
  • The Heist: So utterly failed that it barely even registers in the plot.
  • Honor Before Reason: Jerry puts his gun down before challenging Lehiff to a fistfight. Lehiff doesn't have this problem.
  • Humiliation Conga: Sally. Her ex stole all her money, chained her to a bed, took a shit on her and left her for several days. No wonder she's so traumatised.
  • Hyperlink Story: In the Pulp Fiction mold: numerous characters, several of whom are small-time criminals, whose plotlines overlap in surprising ways.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Jerry and his punching bag.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: John, who stole ridiculous amounts of stuff from the supermarket in which he works. One time, he stole an entire crate of brown sauce. When he finds he can't get rid of it quickly enough, he starts putting it in his tea.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: At the start of the film, Oscar is so sexually frustrated that he isn't even able to masturbate. He quickly overcomes this when he meets Noeleen though.
  • May–December Romance:
    • Near the beginning of the film, Sam leaves his wife Noeleen to pursue a relationship with Deirdre, who is significantly younger than him.
    • Noeleen responds in kind by entering into a relationship with Oscar, likewise much younger than her.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Jerry challenges Lehiff to a fistfight at the end, Lehiff accepts before pulling a revolver on him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Jerry, when Lehiff pulls a gun on him.
  • Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Sally. To be expected considering the traumatic experience she had.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Jerry: "I'm a thug. Basically my only humanising quality is my love for Celtic mysticism."
  • Sexual Karma: Oscar and Sally, the two shy ones, find each other. John gets his girlfriend back when he admits that he cares about her. Sam gets back together with his wife, who's discovered she can use threats of physical violence to keep him in line. All together now - awwww.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Tea with brown sauce is not the world's commonest drink order. Deirdre realizes that the man holding her hostage must know her ex-boyfriend John because of this.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: "That makes you, and I feel no compunction in saying this, a whore"
  • Stupid Crooks: Just about every criminal in this film is of the bumbling kind.
  • Twice Shy: Sally and Oscar.
  • Verbal Tic: Mr. Henderson is fond of ending his sentences with "as they say in the States".
  • Would Not Hit a Girl: Both this and Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male are zigzagged all over the place. First, in the opening scene, Lehiff is charming a waitress when completely out of the blue he socks her in the jaw and knocks her to the ground. Later, John is furious when he treats Deirdre the same way. And on the other hand, Noeleen hitting Oscar causes him to walk out on her, but this inspires her to take out her frustration on her husband, which is Played for Laughs.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Jerry seems to think he's the protagonist in a Dirty Harry-style film. He really isn't.