Home Movie Reviews ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ – Review
‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ – Review

‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ – Review

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The end of the year beckons and with it, one of the 2022’s most intriguing cinematic presentations with noted filmmaker Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin. And the result is a clever and calculated narrative that will hook you in right to the very end.

On a remote island off the coast of Ireland, Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell) is devastated when his buddy Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) suddenly puts an end to their lifelong friendship. With help from his sister and a troubled young islander, Pádraic sets out to repair the damaged relationship by any means necessary. However, as Colm’s resolve only strengthens, he soon delivers an ultimatum that leads to shocking consequences.

As one of the smartest writer-directors working today, Martin McDonagh has a cinematic voice that just begs audiences in. Known for his intelligent, quirky almost puzzle-box stories of human emotions and flaws, he’s a director who takes audiences on a journey with some truly oddball characters and the surprises come quick in his films. Having stunned the world with his lauded 2017 film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, McDonagh now returns to the cinema with The Banshees of Inisherin, and this dark comedy of loneliness, escalation and pure madness makes for a riveting watch.

Following the interactions of best friends Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell) and Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson), everything seems to be fine on the isle of Inisherin, until it’s not and suddenly and with no abject reason, Colm decides to end his friendship with Pádraic. Bewildered and hurt, simple-minded yet cheerful ‘good fellow’ Pádraic can’t understand why Colm has decided to end it all. Colm, a learned and accomplished folk musician puts it bluntly to his former friend that he has no interest in spending the rest of his life being bored silly by Pádraic’s earnest dullness and wants to leave it at that. But that would be far too simple for this story, and little by little the stakes of this stand-off between Pádraic and Colm turn to disaster, with madness and violence ensuing.

The Banshees of Inisherin is a terrific character study of the distinctive personalities of its four main characters who include Farrell’s Pádraic, Gleeson’s Colm, Kerry Condon’s Siobhán; Pádraic’s inquisitive and smart younger sister and Barry Keoghan’s Dominic; Pádraic’s other friend and drinking buddy who is seen by many as the village idiot, but who actually has a great deal of clarity about him. All of them clash and crash into one another and their complexities and idiosyncrasies lend The Banshees of Inisherin a rhythm and pace which keeps audiences on their toes throughout what turns into a very nerve-wracking watch.

In relation to the viewing experience, The Banshees of Inisherin is a film where it’s best to go in completely blind to the narrative, and so with this, I will stray away from spoilers. But in terms of the experience, this is a film that will take you by surprise and where growing hostilities and severe escalations lead to some very uneasy moments. But while there’s a certain shocking gloom to the story, The Banshees of Inisherin is also packed full of hilarious and absurd comedic moments and you’ll find yourself laughing at the most unexpected times. McDonagh’s story also serves as an allegory of the Irish experience, and you can sense the director trying to work through his country’s past and the calamity and terror that came with it. And this is an ever present part of the narrative as a whole.

For those who like their cinema with a solid twist, The Banshees of Inisherin makes for a wickedly smart watch and audiences who are seeking the unexpected will be in for a treat with this intriguing picture.

Image: 20th Century Studios