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Intermission

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The lives of a dozen Dubliners intersect in this gritty comedy-drama, the debut feature from John Cowley. A fired bus driver and supermarket clerk go on a heist; a bank manager leaves his wife; a rage-filled cop badgers a TV crew; a bus tips over, a sad girl grows a moustache, a wee lad tosses rocks, and a case of brown sauce goes missing -- and it all comes together and makes mostly sweet sense. These working-class yobs may be secretly sentimental beneath their endless profanity, but thank god there isn't a minute of tweeness that too often mars comedies imported from Ireland. The grungy indie feel -- lots of hand-held camera and drab locales -- and the Gordian-knot narrative gimmick feel a bit dated, but a few players shine above the ensemble cast and the film's familiarity: Shirley Henderson as the wounded lover with the hairy upper lip; Colm Meany as the brutish cop; and Owen Roe, who has a small role as the bad boss who reckons he's cool. And yes, he's in danger of becoming a tiresome tabloid darling, but Colin Farrell fairly crackles with dangerous charisma and effortlessly earns his pay as the film's chief thug. Witness the film's opening scene, in which Farrell charms a waitress, and leaves both her and us slack-jawed fools. 2.5 cameras

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