- Colin Farrell, Brendon Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Kerry Condon,Barry Keoghan
- Martin McDonagh
- Release date
- October 21, 2022
- Where to watch
- HBO Max
Set in 1923 at the tale end of the Irish Civil War, The Banshees of Inisherin tells the tale of two once best friends as they navigate their newly dissolved relationship while living on the tiny and remote fictional Irish island of Inisherin.
The Banshees of Inisherin
The Banshees of Inisherin is one of the most gorgeously shot films of the last 20 years. Director Martin McDonagh takes full advantage of the dreamlike beauty of the Emerald Isle and makes it one of the main characters. The ancient fairytale quality of the Aran Islands archipelago (the filming location) serves as a stark contrast to the often emotional altercations between the film’s two leads as well as the exchanges of military ordinance sporadically seen and heard coming from the not-so-distant mainland.
Starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, as the estranged friends in question, The Banshees of Inisherin also boasts subtle and nuanced performances equal to the beauty of its surroundings. Farrell plays Pádric Súlleabháin, an unmarried middle-aged dairy farmer who lives alone with his bright and bookish yet miserable sister Siobhán, masterfully played by Kerry Condon (Better Call Saul). However, the standout performance in a film full of standout performances is given by Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk), who plays the local gom (i.e. idiot) Dominic Kearney.
Dominic is developmentally delayed at a time when there was little patience for such things. He’s a lonely young man who has grown up with a horribly abusive father and few friends. Keoghan’s performance is stunningly brilliant. With very little, he manages to convey all of the pain and longing that his character has felt for a lifetime but is unable to fully understand, let alone articulate.
Unfortunately, The Banshees of Inisherin’s only weakness is also a big one. It doesn’t have much of a story. It is a character-driven piece, which is all fine and good, however, it spends all of its 1h and 54m runtime building toward a crescendo that it never quite reaches.
Often, the problem with artistic films is that they rely on a message that the filmmakers believe to be deep and meaningful to carry the audience to the film’s “a-ha moment.” It’s the moment in which the larger meaning of the film is fully revealed and the audience is given a sense of catharsis and satisfaction, even if the resolution isn’t a happy one. It’s too bad then that The Banshees of Inisherin’s final message is so bland and nihilistic.
The Banshees of Inisherin is one of the most beautiful and well-acted letdowns that I’ve seen in a long time. It’s an absolute shame that the finale renders it completely pointless to watch.
The central theme of the movie is that even really nice guys can be pushed too far, and it’s good to be bitter and angry.
James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.