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  • Writer's pictureFiona Prior

The Banshees of Inisherin

Director: Martin McDonagh

My God, this movie is extraordinary.

Admittedly, I had been putting off seeing it as I knew it would be bleak, a bleakness peppered by incredibly black humour.

It was … and for that reason I can’t say I enjoyed the film but it is still in my head, well over a week later.

In a nutshell, it is about how the stupidity of men causes pain and violence on a personal and on a national level.

Banshees’ is set on a fictitious island (‘Inisherin’) off the coast of Ireland. You can hear guns from the civil war going off across the water that separates this harsh but beautiful terrain from the mainland.

Two friends, Padraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson), find themselves at an impasse in what has been a lifelong friendship. Colm has decided to end their friendship as he wants to spend his remaining life writing music and contemplating existence.

Unfortunately, this decision would appear to have been made without compassion because Padraic responds like an abandoned child, not being able to believe that his lifelong friend could put their relationship so easily aside.

At first you feel that Colm is cruel and the simple Padraic is far more likeable. Slowly, you realise that both are monsters in their own peculiar ways ... and that both have moments of extreme compassion - again, in uniquely peculiar and incongruous circumstances.

The acting in 'Banshees' is sublime. Amongst an outstanding cast, the performances of Kerry Condon as Padriac’s sister Siobhan and that of Barry Keoghan who plays a young, lost soul, are toe-to-toe with that of Farrell and Gleeson. The Catholic ritual of confession with its associated scenes in ‘Banshees’ are worth bottling.

Unbelievable characters exist of Inisherin, from witch-like old ladies to simple publicans. You frequently feel that you are floating in time; the villagers living in homes, rustic and beautiful, surrounded by achingly lovely and eternal landscape.

The Banshees of Inisherin’ is bloody, stupid, creepy and brilliant.

You wonder if it is a statement about the ridiculous war of which you are constantly aware, gunfire sounding across the water throughout the film.

Highly recommended and very difficult to forget. Definitely not a feel-good creation.

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