As the cinema landscape continues to be riddled with superhero blockbusters, science-fiction, horror sequels, and fantasy films, it’s refreshing when a movie comes along with a pure focus on story, character development, directing, and solid acting performances. The Banshees of Inisherin is one of those films.
Directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Kerry Condon, Banshees tells the story of longtime pals Pádraic Súilleabháin (Farrell) and Colm Doherty (Gleeson) living in a small Irish countryside whose relationship turns sour after Colm one day decides he no longer wishes to be friends. Doherty ups the ante by threatening to cut off a finger, his own, for every time Pádraic refuses to abide his request for solitude.
Pádraic, perceived by some as dim, lives with his sister Siobhán whose primary duties appear to be cooking his meals and trying to keep him out of trouble. However, she pines for more than the bitterness that seems to be infused in the DNA of those whose reside in Inisherin. Pádraic, at his core, is a gentle soul who believes in the power of kindness while Colm argues against such niceties by claiming people are not remembered for kindness, but rather by talent and skill which leave a legacy such as that of Classical composer Mozart. Pádraic’s kindness tests the limits of their friendship and ultimately begins to have an impact on those around them.
The film touches on numerous themes including love and loss, pain, vulnerability, kindness, family, friendships, and staying true to oneself. A reuniting of Farrell and Gleeson (In Bruges), makes for a strong pair of performances from both actors. Kerry Condon delivers a wonderful performance which at times is both dramatic and comical. There are other funny moments in the film from supporting actors Barry Keoghan, Gary Lydon, Pat Shortt, and David Pearse as a priest who isn’t afraid to use salty language. The film does come with an R rating from the MPAA.
Released in October 2022, Banshees isn’t a fantastic film, but it’s a welcomed relief from the onslaught of big budget eye candy releases such as Avatar: The Way of Water, Black Adam, M3GAN and far too many DC and MCU upcoming releases to mention. Banshees dips in a few spots, but it clocks in at just under two hours. As of this writing, Banshees has an IMDB metascore of 87 and has been praised by many critics with a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes making it certified Fresh. McDonagh’s directing is perfectly under-stated and shows off the beautiful Irish countryside without it becoming a distraction from the story and strong performances. It has a fiddle-heavy score given the setting, but it’s a nice excuse to show off Gleeson’s actual acumen with the instrument.
Bringing in nearly $28 million worldwide as of the publishing of this blog, Banshees isn’t going to set any box office records. However, I’m recommending the film for those looking to take a break from the over-hyped and often undelivered promise of whatever this week’s “#1 movie in the World” is purported to be. Put on the kettle and dish out some porridge and enjoy a simple, but pleasing bit of cinema in The Banshees of Inisherin. It’s a fecking good film lads.