The Banshees of Inisherin — Movie Review

by KJ Proulx

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ [Credit: Searchlight Pictures]

Sometimes the simplest of films can become one of the best of its consecutive year, or even an already great filmmaker’s finest work. Martin McDonagh is one of my favourite working directors today. Whether you’re talking about his excellent and hilarious debut with In Bruges back in 2008, or his award-worthy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in 2017, he is a filmmaker that hasn’t made a single film that wasn’t at least very, very good, at least to me. The Banshees of Inisherin marks his latest directorial effort and arguably his best. It’s been a while since I went to the theatre and felt the filmmaking just leaping off the screen, but this one did that for me.

The Banshees of Inisherin follows Pádraic (Colin Farrell) as he lives a straightforward life on a small island in Ireland called Inisherin. Drinking at the local pub on a daily basis and only having one lifelong friend in Colm (Brendan Gleeson), he quickly learns that Colm no longer wishes to be his friend. Colm has his reasons, but they really don’t make any logical sense, thus sparking Pádraic’s confusion and curiosity. Colm’s one request is that Pádraic just stop talking to him altogether, otherwise he is threatening to harm himself. That’s it, that’s the only story to this film, other than the very incredible dialogue that makes it all worth it.

This film is a masterwork in how well a movie can work if you have great characters. Pádraic and Colm are both very well written and Farrell and Gleeson both give arguably their best performances here. They both had me laughing hysterically and feeling awful at the same time. There were multiple occasions where the film was too funny to not laugh, but the subject matter was very dark, so I felt bad for doing so, and that to me was the brilliance of this film. The dialogue was the driving force here and that aspect was perfection to me.

Martin McDonagh also wrote the screenplay for this film, which really makes me believe he won’t ever make a bad movie. He has a knack for writing some of the most clever dialogue out there and his work throughout the years only seems to improve. He can also work exceptionally well with actors, which is why a film like this turns out so well with him behind the wheel. Everything from the camerawork to the subtle score, The Banshees of Inisherin, although dark and funny, is a masterwork of filmmaking, especially when it’s such a simple premise. This is also a much darker film than any of his previous work, but that made the final act feel authentic to this story. I really don’t have anything to complain about here.

Rating: 5/5

Check out the trailer below:

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Film Lover First. Critic Second.

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