One man doesn’t want to be friends with another man anymore in McDonagh’s beautifully-shot and darkly humourous film that boasts a sharp script and even sharper acting by the wonderful cast.
Dir. Martin McDonagh
2022 | Ireland/UK | Drama/Comedy | 109 min | 2.39:1 | English
M18 (passed clean) for language throughout, some violent content and brief graphic nudity
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan
Plot: Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.
Awards: Won Best Actor, Best Screenplay & Nom. for Golden Lion (Venice); Nom. for 9 Oscars – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Leading Actor, Best Supporting Actor (x2), Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score
Subject Matter: Moderate – Severing of Friendship; Mental Health; Island Life
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Pace: Slightly Slow
Audience Type: Slightly Mainstream
Viewed: In Theatres – GV Funan
The Banshees of Inisherin is definitely worth a pop as one of the key titles of this season’s Oscar race, if not for Martin McDonagh’s sharp script that charts the decline of a friendship between two men, then for the two wonderful performances by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson who play them.
They are joined by Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon, both terrific as a village outcast and the sister to Farrell’s character respectively.
Farrell, who wears a sad puppy face throughout the film, plays Padraic who is shocked when Gleeson’s Colm wants to sever ties with him.
Colm really means business, and in true McDonagh style, we get all the requisite dark humour and violence set against an atmosphere of hushed morbidity. Carter Burwell’s music, typically minimalist and calm, serenades everyone on the island of Inisherin.
“How’s the despair?”
It is the early 20th century and the Irish mainland is in the throes of conflict and death. One of the characters laments: “The Free State lads are executing a couple of the IRA lads. Or is it the other way around? I find it hard to follow these days.”
Similarly, a local priest asks Colm: “How’s the despair?” It’s a tough time for mental health as McDonagh, through the microcosm of the Padraic-Colm relationship, tries to say a thing or two about the absurdity of fighting your own kind.
Yet, there is a certain existential purity to Colm’s cold war against Padraic—it isn’t ideological or religious, but simply a desire to want to lead a meaningful life on one’s own terms as time slips away in the silver years.
Featuring some of the most beautiful cinematography of the year, The Banshees of Inisherin might not be as directly powerful as McDonagh’s previous Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), but there is an interminable charm to it.
Bit of a stinge with that extra 1/2 star, aren’t we?
But maybe you’re right to have held back; the movie was a bit far-fetched – I mean, that hand dangling there, totally fingerless, and the bloke is still alive and seemingly without pain? – but the acting makes up for it, and the older man’s existential crisis should have provided depth enough for 4 of your yummies.
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Yeah it’s definitely within the range of 3.5 to 4 for me. It could have gone either way I guess. I enjoyed it more than SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS which I gave a B, but a tad less than THREE BILLBOARDS which was A- for me. Hoping to catch IN BRUGES at some point!