Friendship, eh? Some might argue it’s the most important thing in life. In order to survive this cesspool, we need like-minded allies to keep us cackling and lend an understanding ear when needed. This week’s film focuses on the dissolution of a long-term friendship for no discernible reason, which has to be the ultimate head fuck.
Nominated for 9 Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Colin, Best Supporting Actor for Brendan and Brian – and Best Supporting Actress for Kerry Condon.
No word yet on why the donkey was snubbed but it’s a damn travesty.
The Banshees of Inisherin
Directed by: Martin McDonagh
United Kingdom, 2022
Runtime: 114 minutes
Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.
Ireland, 1923 and the Irish Civil War is in its Endgame. Folk musician Colm Doherty (Gleeson) suddenly decides that his lifelong friend and drinking buddy Pádraic Súilleabháin (Farrell) is too dull for his liking and begins ignoring him. This goes down exactly as well as you’d expect, derailing life as Paddy knows it. Colm, with all the time he’s gained back from no longer drinking and shooting the shit with Paddy, intends to spend the rest of his days composing music and – most importantly – doing things that he’ll be remembered for, long after his death.
As Paddy gets increasingly distressed by his friend’s behaviour, Colm doubles down on his plan not to speak to him anymore. This leads him to take incredibly drastic action when Paddy just won’t let well alone. The ultimatum: for every time Paddy attempts to talk to Colm, he will hack off one of the fingers on his left hand.
Convinced he’s bluffing, Paddy learns the hard way that his former bestie is dead serious.
Meanwhile, Paddy lives with his sister Siobhán (Condon) and their donkey Jenny, who consistently makes her way indoors. The siblings temporarily take in troubled Dominic (Keoghan) who’s regularly beaten by his father, the local Garda. In fact, drunk one night and upset about the Colm situation, Paddy confronts Peadar, accusing him of sexually abusing his son. Colm momentarily thaws when Paddy lashes out, remarking “I think I like him again now” to Dominic.
Encouraged by this, Paddy goes to Colm’s house to try and build some bridges – to no avail. As it finally dawns on him that the friendship is done and dusted, and that Colm will stick to his word no matter what, things escalate – with absolutely devastating results. Siobhán, sick of island life and perhaps having a donkey kicking it in her living room, takes a job in a library on the mainland.
How will this feuding end is the ultimate question – and the answer is – once most things are burnt to the ground. Is there any going back for Colm and Paddy?
I loved this – it truly is McDonagh’s magnum opus IMHO. Farrell and Gleeson are completely plausible as feuding BFFs and their actions toward one another are at once ludicrous and absolutely heart wrenching.
I do think the central premise is ingenious, as it puts you in the position of wondering what you’d do in the same position. For me, it makes me think of the times I’ve been disliked but unable to understand why. It’s hard to stomach when you know the reasons, let alone because somebody else thinks you’re boring. What do you do with that?
Technically, everything looks good, it’s obviously safe in the hands of its cast and Jenny’s arc just broke my damn heart. No notes.
3 thoughts on “The Banshees of Inisherin review”
I promise if we ever have a falling out, I will at least provide you with a donkey to cuddle. Though we’ve got no worries there.
Also, as an aside, one of the FAQs Google suggested when I was trying to look up character names was “Is The Banshees of Inisherin a sequel to In Bruges?” I got a good chuckle from that.
Thank you my darling, that’s the most reassuring thing I can imagine. Although I am not planning on ever falling out with you, if I can help it! x
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