THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (2022)
Release Date: 11/04/22 [Cinemas]
Studio: Searchlight Pictures
"Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
In the spring of 1923, the devastating conflict of the Irish Civil War nears an endpoint, but the needless bloodshed continues until then. Off the shore of Ireland, Martin McDonagh's fictional Island of Inisherin watches the fighting from afar. This small, remote island isn't home to much, but even here devastating conflicts can erupt to the most dire of consequences. So we have, Martin McDonagh's The Banshees of Inisherin which, as hilarious as it is, carries a great deal of pain that's felt in every corner of McDonagh's fictional Island, making this quiet dark comedy quite the stinger long after it's ended.
Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell reunite with the In Bruges director to deliver a film about a friendship at odds - Padrick (Farrell) finds one day that his lifelong friend Colm (Gleeson), has suddenly stopped liking him. Joining Gleeson and Ferrall are Kerry Condon, playing Padrick's sister, Shiobhan, and Barry Keoghan who plays the village fool, Dominic. Farrell and Gleeson give even stronger performances than they've ever given here - Farrell's especially showing a great deal of vulnerability and sadness and he elevates Padrick as a character to an exceptional degree and comes here as a top contender for one of the best leading performances of the year. Gleeson's Colm is also quite exceptional, a quiet performance for sure, but one that's equally tender and harsh.
Condon's supporting performance is the standout personally as Padrick's sister, Siobhan - perhaps the film's most commanding presence. She attempts to control all the chaos caused by Colm and Padrick's little spat while at the same time contemplating her place among the remote islanders. She does wonderfully in the smaller moments of the film that do the most in developing her character and deliver some of the film's more powerful punches.
Keoghan delivers another fantastic performance in his ever growing catalog. As he plays Inisherin's village fool, he brings a whole deal of charm and life to the film that can only come from him. It's a smaller role than the other three, but absolutely unforgettable here and he adds tremendously to both of the film's more comedic and somber sides. A small performance with fantastic depth. It's perhaps time that we consider Keoghan among the best performers of his generation.
McDonagh's fourth cinematic entry is a much different approach entirely than his other films. Though it is very funny like his other films, The Banshees of Inisherin feels more deathly serious - there's a quiet sense of doom that lingers over Padrick's predicament. There's contemplations on endings, self-destruction, loneliness, and oblivion. What do we do when we suddenly lose something, someone, that was also a massive part of who we are? Is that part of us truly gone forever? Can it be repaired or replaced? Or does it just remain a void we carry until the end of our days? It's an incredibly creative screenplay that's introspective, thought-provoking, and sharp and by far McDonagh's best to date.
The fictional Island of Inisherin itself is worth talking about. Ben Davis' cinematography brings so much life to the remote island; maze-like landscapes and architecture that's simple, but is shot with so much unique characterization in each location. Though it's a small, remote and somewhat lonely town, there's certain moments where Davis shows these townspeople as if they are truly content with where they are - despite the destruction happening on the mainland which Davis shoots in an aloof manner even though it will soon change the course of history for the rest of the century.
The Banshees of Inisherin is one of this year's must see movies. McDonagh's fourth film comes stinging with a cast at the top of their game portraying characters with incredible depth with a script that delivers introspective and hard hitting questions. It's an excellent dark comedy with a deep sadness that stings long after its viewing. No idea how this will fare in the awards circuit, but make no mistake, this is one of the more essential films of 2022.