The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)

Movie Title: The Banshees of Inisherin

Year Released: 2022

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 54min

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh

Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan, Gary Lydon, Pat Shortt, Sheila Flitton, Bríd Ní Neachtain, Jon Kenny, Aaron Monaghan, David Pearse

Review: On a remote island off the coast of Ireland, Pádraic (Colin Farrell) is devastated when his buddy Colm (Brendan Gleeson) suddenly puts an end to their lifelong friendship. With help from his sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and a troubled young islander named Dominic (Barry Keoghan), Pádraic sets out to repair the damaged relationship by any means necessary. However, as Colm's resolve only strengthens, he soon delivers an ultimatum that leads to shocking consequences.

Banshees of Inisherin, on its surface, is a story about the fragility of human relationships. In this case, we have the dynamic duo of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson (who previously worked with director Martin McDonagh in In Bruges (2008)). Farrell and Gleeson play two lifelong friends that live on a remote, fictional island called Inisherin. One day, seemingly out of nowhere, Colm (Gleeson) wakes up and decides that he no longer wants to be friends with Pádraic (Farrell). What starts as a harmless proclamation, starts to drive Pádraic mad as he tries to come to grips with the fact that his best buddy no longer wants anything to do with him.

This film is brilliantly acted by both Farrell and Gleeson, but secondary characters played by Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan also deliver outstanding performances. I think the acting and writing are the two biggest areas where this movie really excels. The biggest drawback is that this film moves very slowly at times. I was thoroughly entertained throughout, but there are lapses where not much happens. Banshees of Inisherin is a slow-burn where the outlandish-ness of the story only grows as the tension between the two main characters escalates.

All while the tension is building on the island, there is a civil war taking place on the mainland. I think the interesting thing here is that the quarrel between Pádraic and Colm is essentially a microcosm for what is happening in Ireland in this time period. The Irish Civil War was a war that was essentially baseless, but as time wore on, it brought out the worst in people (as war tends to do) and many people died as a result. In the same vein, the dissolved friendship between Pádraic and Colm comes out of nowhere and is completely pointless. As both men try to move on, the former friends bring out the worst in one another as Colm attempts to live his life his way, and Pádraic attempts to get some answers and repair his broken friendship. With neither man left satisfied, the ensuing course of events leads to shocking, unnecessary, and avoidable consequences. Sawed off fingers, anyone?

Couple this social commentary with a brilliant score and beautiful cinematography, and I think you have a recipe for a successful film. This movie certainly isn't for everyone, but it's clear that it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture for good reason. This film will have you laughing hysterically at times, but also wiping away tears in its more intense moments. If dark comedies are your thing, then definitely check out the Banshees of Inisherin!

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Jenny, the miniature donkey portraying Colin Farrell's pet, had never been in a movie before. She was not a trained animal actor, and seemed to detest the experience. Farrell joked that she was the biggest diva on set. A second donkey with ample experience on sets named Nosy Rosy, filled in as her double.


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