MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “The Banshees of Inisherin” stars Colin Farrell (Dumbo , The Lobster), Brendan Gleeson (In the Heart of the Sea, Edge of Tomorrow), Kerry Condon (Avengers: Infinity War, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri), Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk, The Green Knight), and Gary Lydon (The Guard, War Horse). It is written and directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths).
Pádriac (Farrell) finds himself confused and neglected when his lifelong friend Colm (Gleeson) suddenly doesn’t want to be his friend anymore.
Martin McDonagh is back. And he’s brought Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson with him. Is this an early Christmas present?
In what I would deem a fall sleeper hit, “The Banshees of Inisherin” paints a beautiful picture of a broken friendship and the ponderings of what it means to truly live a life well spent. To me, it feels like McDonagh’s most personal piece, as there is an essence to it that is so methodical, unique, and saddening that it would have to come from a private place. (Recently, I watched a Hollywood Reporter writers roundtable where McDonaugh confirmed that the message behind “Inisherin” sprung from his thoughts on how he should spend his life and if he is wasting it.) Farrell and Gleeson reunite after “In Bruges” to fill the frame of two friends at odds when one suddenly doesn’t want to continue the friendship. All because they find the other person boring.
It’s quite humorous, if you ask me. The trailer intrigued me with its dark humor; something that McDonagh is no stranger to. Suddenly not wanting to be someone’s friend anymore for the sole reason that they don’t want to is so simplistic, yet genius. It’s something that hasn’t really been conveyed before, and setting it against a period piece Ireland backdrop makes for even more fun and beauty. I enjoyed the landscapes of this. The cinematography was great, as were the locations McDonagh shot in. You get the enclosed feeling of such a small island/town that it only makes sense when some wish to leave or do something better with their time than sit around and drink beer.
Farrell’s character of Pádriac is so genuine. He’s a nice fella who doesn’t have much going on in his life and he is quite content with that. Everything around him begins to shift, however, as those closest to him want something more out of their lives than the humdrum lifestyle their homeland has to offer. His journey is a slow-burn, and you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy. It’s the most vulnerable role I’ve seen Farrell step into, and he did a bang-up job doing it. His chemistry with Brendan Gleeson is something written in the stars. Who would’ve thought that those two would work so well together. Gleeson’s grit and matter-of-fact candor rubs up against Farrell nicely, and you can’t help but eat up the scenes those two share. McDonagh did right in bringing them back together for this, and filling the frame with a wonderful supporting cast as well, consisting of the likes of Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan, and Gary Lydon. They all fit his style nicely.
If you are unaware of McDonagh and his style, then I think you should brush up on it. He’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. His comedy is rather dark, and recently he’s developed an interest in stories that are slowly paced out. I was taken aback by “Banshees,” particularly because of how sad/serious it is. The first act or so had me chuckling quite a bit, but as the story progressed, things only got more serious and even more so depressing. Who would’ve thought that a torn friendship would cause so much heartache? At a certain point, I found my eyes getting quite misty over the fact that these two can’t return to what once was, and how Farrell’s live divulges into such a tragedy. It’s not for the faint of heart.
McDonagh’s “Banshees of Inisherin” doesn’t seek to dazzle you with spectacle. It’s not as chaotic as “Seven Psychopaths,” nor is it as bonkers as “In Bruges.” Much like his Oscar-winning picture “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” McDonagh mines humor from tragedy. “Banshees” is a simplistic concept championed by powerful performances in a landscape rich in visuals. I walked away having enjoyed it, and to some extent impacted. If you enjoy his style of filmmaking, I recommend it. FINAL SCORE: 91%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: