The Banshees of Inisherin is a 2022 dark tragicomedy film directed by Martin McDonagh. Set on a remote Island off the west coast of Ireland, it stars Colin Farrell and Brendand Gleeson as two lifelong friends who find themselves at a dead end when one quickle ends their relationship, with startling consequences for both of them. Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan also star in the film.
At the tail end of the Irish Civil War in 1923, on the fictional Irish Isle of Inisherin, folk musician Colm Doherty quickly starts ignoring his lifelong friend and drinking buddy Padraic Suilleabhain. Padraic, though friendly and well liked by the islanders, is too “dull” for Colm, who wishes to spend the remainder of his life compsing music and doing things that he will be remembered by. Padraic’s life is disrupted by the loss of one of his few friend; as he grows more and more tramatic at the rejection, Colm becomes more hostile to his old friend’s attempts to to talk to him. Colm eventuallly gives Padraic an ultimatum: every time Padriac bothers him or tries to talk to him, Colm will cut off one of his own left fingers with a pair of sheep shears.
Though Padriac’s caring sister Siobhan and troubled local boy Dominic attempt to stop the pair’s escalating brawl, their efforts prove ineffective. After a drunken Padriac confronts him in the pub and tries to apologise, Colm cuts off one of his fingers and throws it at Padriac’s door. After Padriac sees Colm meeting with a fiddler from the mainland, he tricks the fiddler into going back home by lying about their father’s death.
Padriac visits Colm to scold him for behaving awfully. Colm reveals the he has finished composing his song, which he calls “The Banshees of Inisherin.” Padiac tells Colm about lying to fiddler to run him off the island, and maybe the three of them could have drinks . Colm cuts off the rest of his left fingers with the shears and throws them at Padriac’s door.
This film is considered a comedy and there are some laugh out moments, but the rest of the movie is very slow, disturbing, and sad. The scenery is breathtaking, the music is beautiful, and the acting is superb. Brendon Gleeson is great as Colm and Colin Farrell is outstanding as Padriac. The film is really slow for the majority of it’s runtime of nearly two hours. It’s only a tad funny and mostly it’s just one sad thing happening after another.
I guess I don’t really understand the whole tragicomedy thing, as I don’t find cutting off fingers as revenge and death of loved ones funny. Had this film been categorized not as a comedy of any type, I might have enjoyed it a little more. But we get is a semi-funny, slow, drunken and depressing story, mixed with a beautiful location and equally beautiful music. Kerry Condon does a fine job as Siobhan and Barry Keoghan is good, not great as Dominic.
The two main charaters Padriac and Colm, are two self-loathing loners, that could really use a friend or a lover. The only friends the two have after they break up are animals, Padriac has his donkey and horse and Colm has his dog, but they need more human interactions, some physical touch. They are two of the most depressing characters I have ever seen in a movie. They are called nice by other islanders, but they aren’t always so jolly, they end up constantly seeking revenge on each other, instead of leaving each other alone, or maybe just saying “Hi,” and walking on. They seem to do a lot of beer drinking, to point of being drunk nearly every day, which makes them do stupid things, like pub fights.
There is a little bit of humor in this film, but also this film is not heartwarming, uplifting, or romantic. It is basically two miserable men that hate each other and need desparetly to get off that island, meet people, and try to have a relatively “normal” life. Though this movie takes place in the 1920s, everyone on the island is living like amish people, only with alcohol and tobacco use. There are no cars, no electricity, and likely no plumbing either. It seems odd for the time period, but I guess that’s island life in Ireland back then.
Overall, this is a very slow, a tad humorous, disstressing film. The scenery and the fine acting don’t make this one any better. Some things are left unaswered in the movie as well. Had there been more action, this film might have been more entertaining, but instead is quite boring and sad. I was hoping this one would have been fantastic judging by all the awards it has recieved, but I have to disagree, except that Farrell and Gleeson do deserve their awards, but definitely not Best Picture or Best Screenplay worthy. It is a drunken, dawdling somewhat mess of film. 18+ 3/5