Film Review: “The Banshees of Inisherin” (2022)

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Not every friendship is meant to last forever. Not every person has the tendency to keep the spark of a relationship alive. What is clear, though, is that the answer and explanation to whatever puts an end to the spark allows one to cope better. But what if one ends the friendship abruptly without prior notice or reason? How would you personally react to it?

Set in 1923, near the end of the Irish Civil War, on the fictional Irish Isle of Inisherin, folk musician Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) decides to make a life-changing decision – to end his friendship with his best buddy, Pádraic (Colin Farrell). When Pádraic confronts Colm and asks why he distanced himself, Colm does not clarify his action and says, “I just feel like it.” Because quietness is his companion at that point. Anybody, perhaps, would just say, alright, let it be. But Pádraic has a different idea about it and does not accept no as an answer. But the stubborn Colm does not want to give up either and sticks to his plan with the ultimatum given to Pádraic with an insane outcome that can make anyone go mental.

Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, “The Banshees of Inisherin” is a must-see film for everyone who likes an intelligent story with an element of comedy. It explores the two men’s broken friendship, and the world of yes-and-no colliding, delivering a devastating outcome. The cinematography, soundtrack, direction, writing, you name it, is splendid. It’s like watching Leonardo Da Vinci at work. It’s incredible how deep and moving the story is and what it can do to someone whose life changes inexplicably.

The cast of the film is brilliant. It reunites Brendan Gleeson with Colin Farrell, the same as Farrell with Barry Keoghan, who portrays the man whose life could not be any worse. Supported by Kerry Condon as Pádraic’s sister, the film defines stubbornness and the lack of cooperation. We don’t know much of what happened between a drunk Pádraic and sober Colm. But what we are told in the beginning is that it’s just Colm who wants some changes in his life by having Pádraic out of it. Pádraic is immensely hurt. He cannot think about anything else other than his friend. Almost obsessively. But if you find Pádraic weird, wait for Colm, who promises to do nothing else, if Pádraic makes another attempt to reconcile their friendship by doing something that can have your eyes rolled – chopping his own fingers one by one.

Not to reveal much, Martin McDonagh delivers the best black tragicomedy in decades. Colin Farrell provides the performance of a lifetime, including the body language of his character, that will leave you in awe. Brendan Gleeson is pure perfection, while Kerry Coogan and Barry Keoghan are equally strong. As for the story and what it teaches us is something that each and every one of you will come up with your own perception. What you will know for sure is that when one person struggles to live life to the fullest and sees the meaning of his own life within one limited frame, it always gets destroyed by a reality check. Both men are strong and uncompromising. They don’t back down from their own word and stick to it as if their life would depend on it… until the moment when it really does. And that’s when things get interesting, dramatic, funny and shocking all at the same time.

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