Set on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, The Banshees of Inisherin follows lifelong friends Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson), who find themselves at an impasse when Colm unexpectedly puts an end to their friendship. A stunned Pádraic, aided by his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) and troubled young islander Dominic (Barry Keoghan), endeavors to repair the relationship, refusing to take no for an answer. But Pádraic’s repeated efforts only strengthen his former friend’s resolve and when Colm delivers a desperate ultimatum, events swiftly escalate, with shocking consequences.
What We Thought:
I don’t think I can call The Banshees of Inisherin a disappointment because overall I did like it and it’s something I will watch again, but man did I have such high expectations for it. I genuinely thought it would be one of my top 3 movies of 2022 if not sneak in and steal the top spot. I’m a big fan of Martin McDonagh’s previous 3 films. I love both Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson especially together in McDonagh’s In Bruges. I love movies from Ireland. This should be my #1 movie of the year and it just isn’t.
What I like about McDonagh’s films is that they are dark, non-politically correct comedies. I love Irish humor and grew up in an Irish-American family so a lot of it makes me laugh and are references I get. This film has comedic elements, but it’s much darker than I thought it would be. In fact, it’s pretty darn bleak. I can be a negative type and for me to call something bleak, that’s saying something. I understand the concept is that Gleeson’s character one day decides he doesn’t want to be friends with Farrell’s character and is willing to do something to himself if Farrell doesn’t back away, but the levels of trauma he goes through to prove his point is dark.
But it makes sense in a way. The time period the film takes place in is a time of turmoil politically in Ireland. Plus the entire film takes place on a small island where people don’t have much to do. You farm, you drink at the pub, maybe do a little singing and that’s life. Life was hard so being dark and grim makes sense. Your life had limitations because of your environment and the lack of people. The fact that Farrell and Gleeson’s characters were friends to begin with doesn’t make sense in today’s world because of their age difference, but back then your options were limited. But it’s one thing to be a dark comedy, it’s another to be The Banshees of Inisherin.
I think the film would have made for a better stage show. McDonagh is an acclaimed playwright and the small amount of characters (with a ton of dialogue) and the few locations would be perfect for the stage. Say what you will about McDonagh, but the man can write dialogue. Put the film on stage with a pub location and Gleeson’s house and Farrell’s house and it works.
The Banshees of Inisherin will have a high Rotten Tomatoes score. It deserves one because it is good. I wanted it to be great. The performances are all solid. The location is breathtaking. But come awards season it won’t get the prestige Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri got. Overall I still have to recommend it and will watch it again when it hits home video, but this entire page should be nothing, but praise and screaming for you to immediately go see it.
Colin Farrell as Pádraic Súilleabbain
Brendan Gleeson as Colm Doherty
Kerry Condon as Siobbán Súilleabaáio
Barry Keoghan as Dominic Kearney
Written and Directed by: Martin McDonagh
Produced by: Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Martin McDonagh
Executive Producers: Diarmuid McKeown, Ben Knight, Daniel Battack, Ollie Madden
Agree about the awards season prestige. My take on it. https://opinionoftheday650548878.wordpress.com/2022/10/23/film-review-the-banshees-of-inisherin-please-dont-take-another-5-years-to-make-another-film-martin-mcdonagh/