The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)


"Wounded but funny, quiet but resonant and resistant to anything like a Hollywood formula, The Banshees of Inisherin is a strangely profound little comedy. It’s one of the few true originals among movies this year"

Tragedy and comedy are perfectly paired in this latest jet-black offering from Martin McDonagh, which, like the writer-director’s previous film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2018), seems a strong contender for the Oscars’ best picture race. Reuniting the two stars of McDonagh’s 2008 debut feature In Bruges, it’s an end-of-friendship breakup movie that swings between the hilarious, the horrifying and the heartbreaking in magnificent fashion.

 It’s 1923, and on the fictional island of Inisherin the sounds of the Irish civil war (“a bad do”) can be heard across the water, providing suitable background noise for the internecine struggles to come. Every day at 2pm, dairy farmer Pádraic (Colin Farrell) calls on his best friend, Colm (Brendan Gleeson), and the two head to the pub. They’re a chalk-and-cheese pair: the former a simple soul who can talk for hours about horse poo; the latter “a thinker” who writes music, plays the fiddle and falls prey to bouts of existential despair. Circumstance has made them inseparable.

Today, however, is different. When Pádraic knocks, Colm simply sits in his chair, smoking. “Why wouldn’t he answer the door to me?” Pádraic asks his smarter sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon), with whom he shares the home from which she constantly has to eject his beloved donkey (“animals are for outside!”). “Perhaps he just doesn’t like you no more,” Siobhán replies – a joke that soon turns out to be horribly true.

Depressed by a sense of time slipping away, and determined to do something creative with whatever years he has left, Colm has decided to cut Pádraic out of his life, ridding himself of the “aimless chatting” of “a limited man”. “What is he, 12?” scoffs Dominic (Barry Keoghan), a local lad who harbours hopeless dreams of escaping his daddy (a brutish policeman whose hobbies are drinking and masturbation) and taking up with the bookish Siobhán. But Colm is deadly serious and makes a solemn promise, or threat: every time Pádraic talks to him, he will cut off one of his own fiddle-playing fingers.

“I just don’t have a place for dullness in my life anymore.”
“You live on an island off the coast of Ireland — what the hell are ya hopin’ for?”

    1. Release date: October 21,2022 
      Director: Martin McDonagh
      Distributed by: Searchlight Pictures
      Music by: Carter Burwell

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