There are a lot of angry people in cities across the world and a lot of rage just waiting to come out. Traditional morality used to put a fence around violent eruptions of anger but not any more. This edgy and feisty Irish drama set in contemporary Dublin was written by playwright Mark O'Rowe and directed by John Crowley. Most of the 54 characters have no qualms about unleashing their feelings. They include a psychopathic ruffian who punches a female waitress in the nose during a robbery, a tough cop who roughs up a suspect by humiliating him in the men's room, a kid who gets his kicks out of throwing stones at buses and cars, and a woman whose husband has left her who vents her spleen on the sexist man in a class. The sparks fly in these encounters, and many of them are kept aflame by the expletive-loaded language of the male characters. Here anger is a wedge that separates people from each other and takes all civility out of city life.
John (Cillian Murphy) and his best friend Oscar (David Wilmot) are stock boys at a supermarket with chips on their shoulders. They hate their job and their manager (Owen Roe) knows it. John's mood turns even more surly when he learns that his longtime girlfriend Deirdre (Kelly Macdonald), whom he dumped, has taken up with Sam (Michael McElhatton), a bank manager, who has left Noeleen (Deidre O'Kane), his wife of 14 years. Deirdre brings her new boyfriend home to meet her mother Maura (Ger Ryan) and sister Sally (Shirley Henderson), but things take a bad turn when Sally voices her disapproval of adulterers. Still off balance from the shocking end of her last relationship with a man, Sally has let the hair on her upper lip grow as a deterrent to any more suitors. And it works. Meanwhile, the lonely Oscar meets the jilted Noeleen at a local dance bar, and they begin a torrid sexual affair. However, her rough and out-of-control behavior eventually sends him fleeing.
Perhaps the two most angry characters in Intermission are Lehiff (Colin Farrell), a nasty criminal, and Jerry Lynch (Colm Meaney), a wild cannon detective who demonstrates the Dirty Harry approach toward law breakers. These two are the yin and yang of energetic destructiveness. Lynch gets very excited when a restless television reported decides to do a documentary on him. Part of his sales pitch is his love of mystical Celtic music. And Lehiff organizes a kidnapping which he figures will give him enough money to set up a home of his own," a nesting place" as he calls it.
The finale of Intermission doesn’t tidy up the messy lives of these angry characters. It just reveals a few more twists in their complicated relationships with each other.