THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (15)
The Banshees of Inisherin (15)
Director: Martin McDonagh
Runtime: 1hr 49min
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan, Pat Shortt, Gary Lydon, Sheila Flitton, David Pearse, Bríd Ní Neachtain
Synopsis: Set on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN follows lifelong friends Pádraic and Colm, who find themselves at an impasse when Colm unexpectedly puts an end to their friendship. A stunned Pádraic, aided by his sister Siobhán and troubled young islander Dominic, endeavours 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.
The Banshees of Inisherin is tragicomedy at its finest, written and directed by Martin McDonagh [In Bruges (2008), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) and Seven Psychopaths (2012)].
Featuring some of Martin McDonagh’s finest work, it premiered at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on 5 September 2022, where Colin Farrell (Pádraic ) won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor and Martin McDonagh won the Golden Osella for Best Screenplay.
The Banshees of Inisherin is the story of a remote island in 1923 with a small group of people on it and what happens when two friends are forced apart by the decision of one of them to go his separate way.
The story opens with Pádraic [Colin Farrell – In Bruges (2008), The Lobster (2015), The North Water TV series (2021)] walking happily around the beautiful island of Inisherin where he lives with his beloved younger sister, Siobhán [Kerry Condon – Better Call Saul, (2015-2022), Ray Donovan (2022), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)].
Pádraic is a sweet, polite, mild mannered, happy-go-lucky guy. His days are simple, he
herds his handful of cattle down a track and lets his miniature donkey, Jenny into his house.
Every day, Pádraic and Colm [Brendan Gleeson – In Bruges (2008), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Calvary (2014), Gangs of New York (2002)] meet at 2pm to go for a drink in the only pub on the island. It’s a daily routine. On this particular day, however, everything changes. Colm ignores Pádraic when he calls round.
Sitting outside the pub, with a pint, Colm looks at Pádraic (Colin Farrell), who is—or was, until now—his best pal, and says, “I just don’t like you no more.” An incredulous Pádraic replies,“You do like me.” But now his life of sharing his childhood home with Siobhán is no more, eating porridge every morning and heading to the pub. Now the landlord, Jonjo [Pat Shortt – Killinaskully (2003), The Guard (2011) and Father Ted (1995)], uncorks his bottle and laments that chat with Colm is ruined forever.
A stunned Pádraic, aided by his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) and troubled young islander Dominic [Barry Keoghan – The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017), Dunkirk (2017), The Green Knight (2021)] endeavours 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.
Pádraic is initially surprised, then shocked, and eventually heartbroken
But Colm has his reasons. “He doesn’t want to waste his time anymore,” says McDonagh. “He wants to devote himself to artistic enterprises: music or thought. Pádraic is the fallout from that decision. Until this point things have been easy going. But Colm is older than Pádraic by 15 or 20 years. Colm identifies that time is precious and he sees Pádraic as a waste of time.”
This outstanding exploration of friendship soured has a pair of outstanding lead performances and a distinguished supporting ensemble cast. McDonagh’s brilliant, rich script is both lyrical and packed full of memorable irony.
Dominic (Barry Keoghan) who is desperate for female company, and considered simple mentally by the other inhabitants turns out to offer the sharpest reaction to Colm’s intransigence: “What is he, twelve?”. There is also a pipe-smoking crone, Mrs. McCormick (Sheila Flitton) who prophesies doom reminiscent of Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal
From the mythical island of Inisherin, the mainland can be seen in the distance, and occasionally explosions of gunfire can be heard.
The Irish Civil War is in its bitter final act but doesn’t seem of great importance to this small community. One evening, Kearney [ Gary Lydon] the policeman and abusive, bullying father of Dominic reveals that his presence is required across the water. “The Free State lads are executing a couple of the I.R.A. lads,” he says. “Or is it the other way around?”
The stunning Irish landscapes, misty vistas and neat parcels of green land delineated by drystone walls are captured by Director of Photography and regular McDonagh collaborator, Ben Davis and the film has a bewitching score from Carter Burwell, plus plenty of violin playing.
The film was shot on location on Inishmore and Achill Island on the west coast of Ireland and is dedicated to the film editor Jon Gregory (21 May 1944 – 9 September 2021) who worked on In Bruges (2008), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
The Banshees of Inishmore explores many interesting conundrums about the human condition, creativity, isolation, conflict and male friendship and is set to be an instant classic.
Images courtesy of SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES