Irish director John Crowley, already active as a theatre director, debuted with
Intermission (2003), a humorous ensemble piece that follows a number
of parallel stories, all converging towards a happy ending of sorts.
The problem is that it is not quite any of the things that it aspires to be:
it is not much of a comedy, despite a few attempts at creating humorous
situations; it is not much of a social drama; it is not much of a punk film.
The one stunning character is the little child, a monster of cruelty who
may lend the film its most important (albeit disturbing) meaning.
A young punk romances the waitress of a diner. Then suddenly he hits her
and steals the money from the register. She is left bleeding and crying on
the floor, while the punk flees chased by some flight attendants.
On a bus two friends, John and the bus driver, Mick, talk of John's recent break-up
from his girlfriend Deirdre. John works in a giant grocery store, and Oscar
is his co-worker and another friend. The store owner warns John that he
could be fired for his repeated violations of the rules. Oscar tells John
that his ex-girlfriend is seeing an older man. After work John, jealous,
charges into her house and yells at her, but she simply kicks him out.
A cop, Jerry, attacks the punk in a pub and pees on his shoes.
A middle-aged man, Sam, who is a bank manager, leaves his wife, Noeleen,
for another woman. Noeleen, desperate, can't understand why, and feels
Deirdre, John's former girlfriend, tells her mom that the bank manager is
moving in with her. Her mother is not excited, but neither does she lecture
Ben is a tv reporter who is trying to come up with bright ideas for his show.
He asks his boss for permission to go after "darker" stories, and then
approaches the psycho cop about doing a show on him. Jerry is ecstatic about
The punk, Lehiff, is spying on the bank manager and Deirdre.
Deirdre has a sister, Sally, who is always depressed and hostile. They are on
Mick's bus. Right after they get off, a child hurls a stone at Mick. Mick
loses control and the bus crashes. Nobody is killed, but the bus is fired
because nobody else has seen the child throwing the stone. Mom and Sally meet
the bank manager, and Sally is as unpolite as possible with him: she is on
the side of the betrayed wife. It turns out that Sally was betrayed too by
a man, who promised to marry her but instead stole her money.
Oscar walks into a porn shop to rent a video. The punk is still spying on
Sam and Deirdre. John is lonely and sad at home. Oscar masturbates at home
and cries in front of the tv set.
Ben's boss kills his idea of interviewing the cop. Jerry is disappointed.
Noeleen, the abandoned wife, is becoming touchy and violent.
Ben's boss orders him to do a piece on the bus accident.
Oscar, desperate for sex, drags John to a disco for elderly people. John is
indifferent to the crowd, but Oscar falls in love with Noeleen, who is
desperate to be liked. They dance and then go to her place and have wild sex.
The punk has a plan and needs help. He recruits Mick, and together they
recruit John: the job is about robbing the bank manager, and John sees it
as a way to take his revenge. He tries to involve Oscar, but Oscar refuses.
They end up fighting, and this time the boss fires John.
Ben interviews Sally and her mom about the bus accident. First, he removes
Sally from the interview because she has a big moustache. Then, the usual child
throws an egg at the mom, so Ben has no choice but to focus on Sally.
Ben is humiliated by this low-quality piece, and accepts the cop's advice
to do a piece on him, no matter what his boss thinks.
Mom and Sally watch Sally's interview on tv: Sally cries when she sees
her moustache so big. For years she has not taken care of herself, and now
she realizes that she looks ugly.
Sam and Deirdre are arguing about going out, while Oscar and Sam's wife
are making love every night. But she goes too far: the sex gets so violent
that Oscar, scared, leaves her.
The punk, John and Mick get into action, while Ben is beginning his piece
of the cop's work. The three burst into Deirdre's house wearing masks,
take the girl hostage and force the man to go with them to the office
and give them a bag full of money. Sam accepts. The punk stays with the girl,
while Mick and John drive Sam to the office. The girl tries to escape and
the punk has to hit her.
Oscar and Sally meet at the diner of the waitress with the broken nose,
and like each other right away. Oscar doesn't mind her moustache.
Sam is walking towards the car with the money, as instructed, when he is
attacked by his wife Noeleen, who is more desperate and violent than ever
after losing Oscar. The police have to separate them. John and Mick, scared,
take off without the money. On the way back, Mick sees the child who threw
the stone at the bus. Mick, determined to catch the child, dumps John
and start following the child. John walks back to Deirdre's house, where
he finds her bleeding. The punk is upset because John has no money, and John
is upset because the punk hit Deirdre. They argue, still masked.
Deirdre recognizes John's voice. The punk shoots John and leaves.
The punk gets in his car and drives away at very high speed, just when and
where Ben is filming Jerry. Jerry, anxious to show a high-speed chase on tv,
starts chasing the punk.
The two chases (Mick after the child and the cop after the punk) end at the
same time, with two accidents. Mick's car ends up dangling over the edge of
a canal, while the child is staring at it. Mick begs the child to walk on
the back of the car so it doesn't fall into the canal. The child, instead,
helps the car crash into the canal.
In the meantime, the punk hits a sheep. Jerry has a gun and could arrest him,
but offers instead a fist fight, to be film by Ben. The punk accepts, but
pulls out a gun and shoots. Ben grabs the gun that Jerry put down and kills
the punk. Ben now has the sensational piece he so desired.
Mick, John and Jerry all survive (what a coincidence) and end up at the
hospital. Deirdre visits John. Mick is released on a wheelchair. Jerry
thanks Ben for saving his life. John proposes to Deirdre, and Deirdre accepts.
Oscar and Sally are kissing.
John's boss is driving his car and congratulating himself about being such
a great man. Suddenly he sees a child grab a stone and hurl it at his