This Irish movie feels for all the world like the kind of American indie dramedy I’ve seen so many of. Once you get past the accents (and actually I could understand 95% of the dialogue, which is a lot better than usual for movies that are Irish/Scottish/Australian, etc.), it’s the same offbeat characters as always, doing offbeat things, dealing with relationship issues, and getting involved in a bumbling way in crime.

As movies of that type go, Intermission is average or a little below.

Some of the witty dialogue works. (I chuckled the most at a misinterpreted reference to rape, of all things.)

Some of the serious elements work. There’s a nice mother-daughter scene. The breakdown of a distraught wife whose husband leaves her for a younger woman is effective in conveying her pain. (At least until they gradually shift to playing her character more for laughs.)

But there aren’t enough good moments for me to recommend Intermission, especially since there are also things I didn’t care for.

The women being punched scenes bothered me. Not that it’s impossible for violence against women to work in a movie, but it better really be necessary. In a mostly light movie like this, it seemed to have little role beyond the shock value of its incongruousness, which for me isn’t enough to justify it.

But I think what I disliked the most, which is related, is how tolerant the movie is of violent stalking.

One character who has broken up with his girlfriend decides he’s still in love with her and still wants to be with her. So he forces his way into her house, and rants about her seeing anyone else, and generally makes an ass of himself. Later he and his buddies don disguises and hold her hostage while forcing her new boyfriend to take out money from the bank and give it to them.

And when she finds out he was involved in this (and it gets violent, by the way), she’s flattered and takes him back, just chastising him to be better at communicating in the future so it needn’t come to this. I wanted to puke.

I think what’s worse is that—as opposed to the hood who punches women and is more clearly a bad guy—this guy’s kind of an everyman, a lovesick kid that is presented more or less sympathetically. His stalking and violence have the feel not of standard violent crimes, but of kind of oddball, cutesy, “boys will be boys,” indie ways of showing love, of showing that a woman’s gotten under your skin.

So he gets the girl and gets to live happily ever after. Whereas the guy who left his wife for a younger woman gets his comeuppance in comic fashion and is made a figure of ridicule, thus indicating which kind of male behavior is more unforgivable, according to the sensibilities of the filmmakers and/or their intended audience.

Like I say, there are fun things about Intermission, and I think it’s well done in certain respects, but overall it didn’t win me over.


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