Writer-director Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin is a tragicomedy that confronts the viewer with the question of whether one’s existence is meaningful.
The film follows Colin Farrell’s Pádraic in his attempts to regain the friendship of ex-drinking buddy Colm, played by Brendan Gleeson, who makes an out-of-the-blue decision to end their friendship. Colm wants to spend what he feels are the final years of life doing something meaningful, something to be remembered by. However, Pádraic refutes his old friend’s belief that he is “dull” and tries to win him over once again by any means necessary, leading to the situation to spiral out of control.
It is the second McDonagh-directed feature featuring the Irish duo of Farrell and Gleeson and their acting chops shine throughout the 114-minute runtime.
The film has earned a lot of its hype for this very reason, and festival season awards and a 15-minute ovation at Venice only put more eyes on the October release date.
The chemistry of these leading men is as it was 14 years ago in In Bruges and that electricity is complimented by more exceptional performances from Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan. The D’Unbelievables also reunite after years in the wilderness, while a few animals provide some of the film’s funniest moments.
Set on the island of Inisherin off the coast of Galway Bay, and against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War, the movie is crafted meticulously around its themes to leave the viewer pondering long after the credits roll.
The hour and fifty-four minutes are laid out like a play – a fellow moviegoer noted that it reminded them of Samuel Beckett’s works. High praise.
Beckett’s theatrical pieces discussed similar themes as this new McDonagh joint, examining dreary and impersonal aspects of everyday life through the lens of black comedy. This description fits not only this new release but also McDonagh’s previous works and the experience in telling this specific type of story pays dividends.
It exudes the same bitterness and includes cynical characters like his previous movies, but McDonagh creates a simple tale with such nuance.
The tragicomic explores themes of isolation, loneliness, and death as we follow the epilogue of a long-standing connection between Pádraic and Colm, as well as the desperation that one exhibits when dealing with such things. With its phenomenal sweaters and beautiful scenery, the movie pleases the eye with its depiction of a century-old Ireland.
Furthermore, Carter Burwell’s compositions utilise harps and flutes among other instruments to set a sombre tone that McDonagh’s screenplay both complements and contrasts with impressive results.
The end-product discusses the external and internal turmoil that follows and surrounds us in life in a melancholic and macabre chronicle that is sure to thrive in the upcoming awards season.
Check out the trailer below and don’t miss your chance to catch the film in cinemas.