February 1, 2023
The Banshees of Inisherin
By Don Morton
Director Martin McDonagh, who had such offbeat fun with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in the crime dramedy ‘In Bruges’, brings the two Irish actors back together for a bit more oddness, and few directors do oddness better. His other works include ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and ‘Seven Psychopaths’.
The theme is friendship, but McDonagh here examines not the issues of trust, fellowship and reliance usually associated with the concept, and instead looks at a friendship’s end. Padraic is to say the least nonplussed when his lifelong pal Colm announces that he doesn’t want to be his friend anymore. The best reason Colm can offer is that Padraic is, well, dull, and he doesn’t want to spend any more of his time on earth listening to his twaddle. Now, Padraic is not the best-tuned harp in the orchestra, and this earnest, stubborn soul spends a good part of the movie coming up with scenarios that would explain Colm’s inexplicable iciness and repair the relationship. (Oh, of course! It’s April Fools Day!)
This layered, complex and wryly observed film switches so abruptly from the deeply emotional to the hilariously absurd to the downright horrifying that you could get whiplash. The perfect cast is rounded out by Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan. Finally, it’s kind of gratifying that such an anti-Hollywood flick has garnered nine Oscar noms. Not to be missed.
Note: This is one of those films you’d best watch with English subtitles, so thick are the local Irish accents. (114 min)