Set upon a fictional island off the coast of Ireland, The Banshees of Inisherin tells the story of Padraic (Colin Farrell), a man who spends his days caring for the sheep and chatting with his pal Colm (Brendan Gleeson) at the local pub. But today is different. When Colm won’t answer his calls for their daily pint, Padraic is confused. When he confronts his friend, the only answer that Colm offers back is that he ‘doesn’t like him anymore’. But Padraic refuses to accept Colm’s rash decision and decides to do whatever he can to make up for… well… whatever it is that’s he done to offend his friend. But as Padraic continues to push, the gap between himself and Colm continues to widen, further shattering what was once a great relationship.
Directed by Martin McDonagh, Banshees is a surprisingly funny and heartfelt film to add to his catalog. Unlike his most recent Oscar-winning work, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but Banshees is far lighter in tone than its predecessor, allowing the quaint surroundings and quirkly conversations to lead the way.
At least, at first.
Best known for unleashing man’s inner darkness, McDonagh allows his film to operate on a slow burn. Beginning with one man’s spontaneous decision to end his friendship with his best pal, the film open with such buoyancy that the viewer cannot help but be drawn into the madness of McDonagh’s world. But darkness looms on the horizon. By highlighting the humour of the film, McDonagh somehow makes the inevitable release of rage even more shocking and disturbing.
In this way, McDonagh unleashes the true terror of his Banshees. Although the reasons appear insignificant, the ghosts of the past refuse to allow the present to heal. With humour and a heart of darkness, McDonagh highlights the pain that is caused when people hold on to their hurt and how quickly the damage can escalate.
The Banshees of Inisherin premiered at TIFF ’22. For more information, click here.