A review of the film “The Banshees Of Inisherin”

This is a film that elicits mixed emotions. Certainly it is both written and directed by a considerable talent (Martin McDonagh who gave us “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri”); it has some wonderful scenery (not Inisherin – which is a fictional island – but Inishmore and Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland); and it has no less than four stand-out performances (Colin Farrell, Brendon Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan).

But the subject matter is desperately sad – a sudden break in the long-standing friendship of the Farrell and Glesson characters – and the consequences of this break-up are brutal while the conclusion is heart-breaking.

The story is set in 1923 during the Irish Civil War on the mainland and the ruptures between these one-time friends is another, more intimate, kind of civil war. Maybe one can understand the first (it was a conflict over the nature of Irish independence), but the second is hard to comprehend.

Maybe it is a consequence of the smallness and isolation of an island community, but it ought to be possible to end a friendship more kindly. Farrell’s character is confused, then angry, and finally vengeful and, in portraying all these emotions, the actor gives possibly the finest performance of his career to date.

“Banshees” is supposed to be a black comedy – like “In Bruges” when Farrell, Gleeson and McDonagh last worked together – but really there is much more blackness than comedy. Everyone on this island seems to be a bit crazy, except the Condon character who wisely decides to leave.


XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>