The Banshees of Inisherin

Yes we have arrived in Oscar season when those movies that believe they have Academy Award chances start coming out, many of which had already debuted at film festivals around the world. One of these films that have some Oscar buzz (and well deserved too) is The Banshees of Inisherin.

According to IMDB, “Lifelong friends Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson), who find themselves at an impasse when Colm unexpectedly puts an end to their friendship. A stunned Pádraic, aided by his sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and troubled young islander Dominic (Barry Keoghan), endeavours to repair the relationship, refusing to take no for an answer. But Pádraic’s repeated efforts only strengthen his former friend’s resolve and when Colm delivers a desperate ultimatum, events swiftly escalate, with shocking consequences.”

The basic story is how one day, from out of nowhere, Colm, played by Brendan Gleeson, decided that he did not want to be friends with his longtime friend, Pádraic, any more. That was truly a strange plot point, and things truly do get out of control soon after that.

While Brendan Gleeson was excellent here, if Colin Farrell does not receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, something is truly wrong with the entire process. Farrell was unbelievable in this role of a blindsided man who just could not understand why his friend decided to cast him aside for, what seemed to be, no reason.

Farrell had every emotion imaginable, from confusion to anger to hurt, and you could see how the events of the situation took pieces of his heart away. He ended up doing things that the Pádraic at the beginning of the film would never have done, all in the grief over the loss of this friendship.

Colm was clearly unbalanced too as he does some things that I, of course, will not spoil, but were shocking to say the least.

There were a couple of real standouts in the cast despite the two main actors. Kerry Condon played Pádraic’s sister Siobhán with a ton of passion and Eternals’ star Barry Keoghan played the local island dimwit, Dominic.

The shots of this fictional Irish island Inisherin were gorgeous and brought some special imagery to add to the drama of what was going down. The Irish landscapes were brilliantly used by cinematographer Ben Davis.

However, this was not just a dramatic story. In was actually quite funny with these oddball characters reacting to the insanity with lines and decisions that were both right in character but also hilarious.

Of course, there were some Irish brogues going on that, at times, made the dialogue difficult to understand. It was as if we needed to translate what they were saying to each other, but we did not get it. Sometimes the Irish dialogue really popped and you could see where it was intended to go.

The story was set in 1923 and had the Irish Civil War as a backdrop, which probably is meant to echo the splitting apart of the friendship of Pádraic and Colm.

The dark comedic film was directed by Martin McDonagh, who reteamed Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell from In Bruges. You can tell why this is an important fact considering how excellent this pairing worked. The Banshees of Inisherin was funny, shocking and dark. At first, the film seemed to be very small and unassuming, but the stakes for the characters rose rapidly as the film continued.

The Banshees of Inisherin should most definitely receive its share of Oscar nominations.

4.3 stars

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