58th Chicago International Film Festival: The Banshees of Inisherin Review

Hatred and solitude are the two elements that stir the pot in The Banshees of Inisherin. Director and writer Martin McDonagh showcases the disturbingly tense relationship of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Farrell’s character has a distracted mindset that makes him curious about what he did wrong. Gleeson’s character has an introverted and annoyed attitude which makes him determined to be alone. The Banshees of Inisherin is pure McDonagh as he creates a situation as detrimental as he did with In Bruges (2008).

The Banshees of Inisherin takes place in the 1920s in Ireland. The film was shot in breathtaking locations including Inishmorewhich is one of the Aran Islands in County Galway as well as onAchill Island in County in County Mayo. The movie’s scenes display much of the Irish culture from that timeframe. There are pub settings, Irish traditions, and many rural areas throughout the film. The scenery makes The Banshees of Inisherin more vivid in terms of the personality clashes.

In the film, Farrell is Padraic, and Gleeson is Colm. They are good friends until Colm calls it quits to their friendship. Padraic finds himself shocked and upset. The more he tries to make peace with Colm, the heavier the consequences. When Padraic’s sister Siobhan (played by Kerry Condon) tries to help Padraic not make irreparable decisions, the problems escalate between Padraic and Colm and lead to unexpected surprises. Colm’s choices become bizarre. The irrational behaviorthroughout The Banshees of Inisherin goes into full McDonagh mode.

The consequences start to include cutting off fingers, house fires, and more catastrophes which lead Padraic to make silly and vindictive choices also. Padraic tells Colm, “You usedto be nice,” and then late tells him, “Now you’re not nice,” and he says it with annoyance, frustration, and despair. Colm informs Padraic by saying, “I just don’t like you no more,” and he does so in a cold and aggravating tone. The Banshees of Inisherin is like a verbal, Irish boxing match between Farrell and Gleeson. It is truly a film of suspense done extremely well.

The Banshees of Inisherin is a McDonagh masterpiece. Thetension is enticing, the plot is structured, and it is a fun ride thanks to the performances of Farrell and Gleeson. There are no boundaries to finding a resolution between Padraic and Colm, but lots of vindictive actions along the way. Four stars for The Banshees of Inisherin.


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