The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) Review!!

Synopsis – Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.

My Take – What happens when your best friend in the whole wide world decides one day that he/she doesn’t want to keep any connection with you anymore? Using this unique conceit, writer-director Martin McDonagh marks his return to the big screen five years after the multiple award winning run of his brilliant crime drama Three Billboards, Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017).

Reuniting with his In Bruges (2008) stars, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, to explore the sudden and unexpected fallout of a friendship in the form of a black comedy laced with unbearably tense standoffs and heartbreaking drama. Resulting in a bitingly funny, razor sharp film that has so many layers and depth to it, that it leaves you wanting more at the end of its 114 minutes run time.

Here, director McDonagh, known for his strong directorial style, dark humor, and his ability to create complex, flawed characters, creates a fascinating study of personalities, friendship and loneliness and backs it with a dark sense of humor and a wide array of lively, eccentric support characters. Making it hard not to empathize with the characters and their differences.

Despite the slow nature of the narrative, it never once drags or feels overworked, as the balance between drama and comedy is struck perfectly. Sure, the unusual film is at times difficult to interpret, yet thanks to its impeccable performances, breathtaking cinematography, haunting soundtrack, and a simple yet effective screenplay, director McDonagh once again proves he is at the cutting edge of black comedy.

Set in 1923 on the fictional island of Inisherin in Ireland that wrought with Civil War, the story follows Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell), a sweet but dull dairy farmer who is content to spend his days greeting townsfolk with his cherished donkey, Jenny, and grabbing a pint every afternoon with his best friend, Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson), a reserved musician.

However, his whole life begins to shatter when Colm tells Pádraic that he doesn’t want to be friends with him anymore, as he believes he is wasting his time entertaining his inane chats. Leaving Pádraic bewildered. But when he presses on the matter, Colm, lays down a grim ultimatum: If Pádraic speaks to him again, Colm will cut off his own finger. One by one, for each trespassed boundary. Laying out alarming consequences for both of them.

If you’re familiar at all with writer-director McDonagh‘s past works, you know that things will definitely get weird and worse. But precisely how they escalate is the shuddering fun of his latest. While the premise of the film is simple, there is a deeper significance to life underlying it. The sickening tension that begins to tighten in the film comes from its uncertainty. It investigates the shallowness of human characteristics.

Pádraic’s heartbreaking quest for answers is an uphill battle, especially when he begins to interrogate the film’s rich tapestry of side characters, Pádraic’s educated sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon), town simpleton Dominic (Barry Keoghan), and other pub-goers, who ride a fine line between being non-confrontational and nosy. All of them seem to get along with Colm just fine, which leaves Pádraic adrift, wondering whether he really is to blame for the fallout.

Here, director McDonagh keeps a keen focus on Farrell’s bemused attempts to put two and two together. His journey from denial to realization engenders sympathy, as he tries to make sense of a relationship thrown into sudden disarray, and deals with the lurking possibility that closure may forever remain out of reach.

Each desperate attempt to find answers is just as much about discerning Colm’s motives as it is about Pádraic realizing potential truths about himself. Who among us has not wondered what we’ve done so wrong that has made us so deserving of such ire? Filmmaker McDonagh is a playwright at heart and by trade, and he thrives in this sort of setup: a tightly controlled world of weirdos, a hothouse for quarrels and inside jokes and petty beefs and grudges held so long that people barely remember where they started.

It makes for immensely entertaining storytelling, and he’s at his best in this distinctly Irish setting take place against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War of 1923, and the characters are allegorical in certain ways. The film with its dark comedy makes comments, and at the same time also carries a profound sadness. To put it another way, the film consumes you.

Reuniting Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, whose odd-couple pairing rendered the gothic crime comedy of In Bruges so unforgettable, was the right choice. They’re both fantastic in their roles. Farrell delivers one of, if not the best performance of his career. Throughout the film, he has succeeded in keeping the same tone and has hit the ball out of the park in the part of someone who is a simpleton at heart and is not as brilliant as he would want to be. Brendan Gleeson is incredible with his consistently calm nature and ability to always humanize his character despite his seemingly harsh decision, conveying the agony and frailty of human existence.

Kerry Condon has a great screen presence and delivers an incredible performance full of warmth while sharing an extremely believable sibling dynamic with Farrell. Barry Keoghan too is extremely believable as the dim-witted Dominic and does a terrific job. On the whole, ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ is a wickedly funny and nerve-rattling comedy that perfectly blends humor and tragedy.

Directed – 

Starring – Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, Brendan Gleeson

Rated – R

Run Time – 114 minutes

One response to “The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) Review!!

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Best Hollywood Films of 2022 – A MovizArk Take!!! | Welcome to Moviz Ark!·

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