Film Review – The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)

films, reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I liked history. It was one of my favourite subjects at school even if it wasn’t my best. History is pretty big so my understanding of it is fairly limited. Especially when it comes to Irish history. This is just my way of saying that I don’t know whether Martin McDonagh’s film is actually a good metaphor for the Irish Civil War or not. It certainly seemed like a fun way of explaining it and was definitely interesting.

The film is deceptively simple in terms of the story. Two old friends suddenly find themselves at odds when one of them decides he no longer likes the other. Pádraic is left devastated and confused when Colm announces that he wants to stop being friends. It comes completely out of the blue and he won’t explain why. It forces Pádraic to try to make amends but his friend won’t respond to his attempts. Instead, he turns to his sister and his friend for advice on the situation but will refuse to move on. As Pádraic’s whole world turns upside down, Colm starts to go down a new path. Can the pair ever come back together?

Obviously, there is a lot more going on below the surface here. For one thing, there’s the potential allegory for the Irish Civil War. This is something that is going on in the background of Pádraic and Colm’s story. We hear about it plenty of times but aren’t really aware of the consequences. There are plenty of people more qualified to go into this element for it but I certainly think it’s a fun way of presenting this part of Irish history. As well as the historical element, this film has a lot to say about toxic masculinity and the need for honest communication. The tension between the two men would be solved had the pair been more honest with each other. Instead, everyone on the island gets caught up in their drama.

The Banshees of Inisherin is such an original and exciting film to watch. Not in terms of story. If you are a fan of plot then this probably won’t be for you. Instead, this is all about character and performance. Every single actor here is doing fantastic work and putting in memorable performances. Colin Farrell continues to prove that he was massively underestimated at the start of his career. It helps that he and Brendan Gleeson have such amazing chemistry. Of course, we already knew this thanks to In Bruges but their on-screen relationship is totally different and mesmerising here. Finally, Barry Keoghan is absolutely superb in his role as Dominic. Every single scene he’s in is breathtaking and just adds to his strong history of standout performances.

I know that plenty of people out there won’t appreciate this film and won’t see beyond the slow and steady pace. However, it is a treasure trove of greatness. I was glued to the screen and never wanted it to end. This is the kind of film that stays with you long after you watch it.

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