From the outset, interMission really packs a punch. Mixing crunching physical violence and impressively foul-mouthed dialogue and switching from serious drama to serious laughs, this pacy Dublin-set romantic comedy crime drama could have been dreamed up by Roddy Doyle and Quentin Tarantino over a not few pints of Guinness.

In fact, it’s the dreamchild of fellow lrishmen John Crowley (directing) and Mark O'Rowe (writing), a pair of theatre directors making their film debuts. To be fair, while interMission shares with Doyle’s novels cheeky colloquial humour and with Tarantino’s films that switch between violence and humour, Crowley and O’Rowe have created something entirely their own as interMission switches between 11, - count ‘em - different character narratives before assembling the ensemble in a series of head on collisions.

There’s John (Cillian Murphy), whose emotional reticence backfires on him when girlfriend Deidre (Kelly Macdonald) dumps him for bank manager Sam (Michael McElhatton), who immediately leaves his wife Noeleen (Deidre O’Kane), who subsequently has a wild fling with John’s sad mate

Oscar (David Wilmot), who’s so out of the game he can’t even give himself one off the wrist. Meanwhile, self-styled maverick copper Jerry (Colm Meaney) makes his work a personal crusade, the unholy grail being petty criminal Lehiff (Colin Farrell), who is planning a caper with unfairly sacked bus driver Mick (Brian O’Byrne). Also there is young wannabe television producer Ben (Tom O’Sullivan) who thinks he’s making his mark filming Jerry’s Dirty Harry schtick, until his boss shunts him onto the low key interest story of mother and


Eleven lives, many coincidences

daughter Maura (Ger Ryan) and Sally (Shirley Henderson) - also mother and sister of Deidre - who rescued passengers from a bus when Mick crashed it.

The intertwining of these 11 characters is far more complex than this - think of a bowl of spaghetti and you’re getting close. Just when the course of coincidences seems obvious, the dexterous narrative takes a surprise turn. And with terrific performances from all involved, interMission is the real crack. (Miles Fielder)

I Selected release from Fri 28 Nov


The Shape of Things finds Neil LaBute returning tO the arena Of sexual politics In which he made his reputation with In the Company of Men in 1997. Based on his own play. The Shape of Things loses none Of its stagey stiltedness by being transferred to the cinema screen; if anything, the effect is tO heighten everything that's artificial about this drama.

Art and artifice. Of course. are LaBute's twin Obsessions and here he combines both in a stunning dissection of contemporary body-consciousness and our Obsession with 'the Surface Of things the shape Of things'. When Adam (Paul Rudd) discovers Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) in an art gallery about tO deface a classical marble statue because it's ‘false'. the beginnings Of a sinister plan are set in motion. Agreeing to date this geeky nobody. Evelyn slowly transforms him from zero tO hero. buying him a new wardrobe. Changing his hairstyle and talking him into cosmetic surgery. Adam thinks he's the luckiest man alive. but he's really anything but.

By cracking the skull and delving around with a scalpel in the subconscious Of contemporary culture, LaBute questions our commitment to a culture without depth; he also ponders whether an, in such a place. can ever have any meaning. It's a contemplative drama that engages the mind. not the heart (LaBute. one fears. has been reading too much Brecht). This is an interim work by a filmmaker who has just begun to rediscover his stride. (Jamie Russell)

I Selected release from Fri 28 Nov

A scalpel job on contemporary culture

38 THE LIST 2? NOV—1 1 Dec 2003



(U) 85min .0

The young can Often be embarrassed by notions Of love, so when butch young warrior Kenai'S coming-Of-age ritual is ruined by the gift Of a soppy looking bear- shaped talisman. his value judgements quickly become somewhat shonky. Soon, the pursuit Of a grizzly bear leads to his brother's death, so Kenai (voiced by Joaquin Phoenix).

kills the animal in revenge. and finds himself cursed to live in the wilderness as a

Bear noncessities

bear himself.

As pO-faced. ideologically PC children's cartoons go. Disney's Brother Bear at least has a thoughtful idea behind it: how must a human lOOk from a bear's perspective? But once Kenai the bear becomes lost in the undergrowth. sentiment runs riot. He quickly runs into a gratingly cute cub that even the most soft-headed tree-hugger could be persuaded to stuff and mount above a fireplace. Even worse. their bear-bonding journey is accompanied by several songs from Phil Collins. which means that the word that Springs tO mind once this little

bear gets into the woods is, as you might expect. shit.

Compensations include some amusingly subversive comedy around the edges. particularly from two scene stealing moose. and a super selection Of Smokey and the Bandit-style out- takes Over the closing credits. But Brother Bear lacks the sass and thrust Of Finding Nemo or Lilo and Stitch, and is probably tOO smug and patronising tO appeal tO anyone over ten. On the plus side Collins is allegedly about to retire from music after a small run Of live concerts. so Brother Bear may just be his film soundtrack deathknell. (Eddie Harrison)

I General release Fri 5 Nov


S*W*A*T (12A) 117Amin 0

Even cops ring 91 1. Oh. do they really? That '3 nice tO know when you are holed up in the LA ghetto with a bunch Of racist shields beating the shit out Of you for no particular reason. That tagline must have been news tO Mr Kings‘ ears (yes. both Mr Kings). Whatever possessed Columbia studios tO get involved in this municipal propaganda? Did the LAPD have some end Of the year left-over funds to plough into a tax write Off exploitation movie?

The triflemen

When renegade big gun S‘W'A'T team guy Jim Street (Colin Farrell) messes up on an assignment he is sent tO the rifle storeroom. An excellent marksman. he knows he has tO prove himself again. And then the leader Of a sanctioned wildcard S‘W'A'T offshoot team Sgt ‘Hondo' (Samuel L Jackson) walks intO his life just at the point when an imprisoned drug kingpin has set the city on fire by Offering SlOOm tO anyone who can Spring him.

Based on an Obscure 708 US TV series. S'W‘A'T sucks in every way. It iS a triumph Of dumb. loud studio politics that manages tO suffocate the little talent there is at work here. I must be in the line Of fire. please shoot me now. (Paul Dale)

I General release from Fri 5 Dec