Friday, December 30, 2022

The Banshees of Inisherin

A musing on loneliness, depression, and the end of a friendship, writer/director Martin McDonagh's The Banshees of Inisherin offers stand-out performances from both Colin Farrell, as the dull but otherwise likable enough Pádraic, and Brendan Gleeson as his longtime friend Colm, who announces one day he wants nothing further to do with his best friend and will perform physical harm to himself should Pádraic refuse to leave him alone.

The film never reveals the catalyst for Colm's decision to distance himself from his friend and work in peace on his music nor offers an ending to the tumultuous situation the two become locked into, instead offering a front seat at the escalation as Pádraic's inability to accept the situation, and Colm's bizarre threats and actions as a brutal response leading to an apparently unresolvable stalemate as the credits roll.

We also get Kerry Condon as Pádraic's sister, Gary Lydon as a brutal local policeman and Barry Keoghan as his dimwitted son (in subplots that add to the setting but never entirely pay off on their own), and the disapproving bartender and priest of the town each concerned with what is happening between the former friends. Filmed on a pair of Irish island used to create the fictious Inisherin, the island adds one final important character to the small cast. Every aspect of the small town, like its characters, feels real and lived-in which is lovingly captured by cinematographer Ben Davis.

While the film includes some darkly tragic comedic elements, I found to be a quite sad and depressing story. Perhaps the growing despair couldn't lead to a simple conclusion or perhaps McDonagh simply choose to keep the film's end as messy and open-ended as the rest of the film leaving out characters still in the middle of the story where we found them. While I can appreciate the film, and the craftsmanship that went into it, the bleak and bizarre tale is not likely one I'd return to often.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: The Banshees of Inisherin
  • IMDb: link

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