From writer and director Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”, “Seven Psychopaths”) comes his latest collaboration with Colin Farrell (“The Batman”, “After Yang”) and Brendan Gleeson (“Mr. Mercedes (TV)”, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”).
This time, McDonagh takes us to Farrell and Gleeson’s home of Ireland, though we’re in 1923 and on the Island of Inisherin, an island off the coast of Ireland. It’s a small and sleepy island with just the gun fire from the fighting taking place on the mainland and the crashing waves to break the silence.
Pádraic Súilleabháin (Farrel) and Colm Doherty (Gleeson) have been friends for years and have settled into a routine which involves going to the local, and only, pub each day at 2pm to talk shite at each other for a few hours.
However, as we join the pair it’s clear that not all is well. Colm is ignoring Pádraic with everyone asking if the pair have had a row, so used to seeing them together. Pádraic doesn’t think they’ve had a row, but he can row when he’s had a few so he’s not entirely sure.
Pádraic’s sister Siobhán, Kerry Condon (“Better Call Saul (TV)”, “Bad Samaritan”), says perhaps Colm just doesn’t like Pádraic anymore. She has no idea how close to the truth she is.
It’s not that Colm doesn’t like him necessarily, he just thinks he’s dull and now, he wants some peace, peace and quiet, that’s all he’s asking for, it’s all he wants. To be left alone, with his fiddle, to compose music.
But Pádraic isn’t a man to leave someone in peace, he’s certainly not a man to be quiet, and so, the pair get into an ongoing row, that escalates very quickly, whilst the rest of the island watches on, baffled by the shenanigans.
As is usual with a McDonagh movie The Banshees Of Inisherin, the title of the music Colm composes in the movie, is packed with darkly delicious humour. A lot of this comes by way of Pádraic, who seems completely oblivious to his own faults.
However, it’s Dominic Kearney who really steals the show, played by Barry Keoghan (“Eternals”, “Dunkirk”). Kearny is the local policeman’s son and, well, not really a nice way to put this, he’s a bit dim. Well, he’s a very dim, the dimmest on the island according to Pádraic and Siobhán.
Keoghan fills the character with such a lovely warm charm that, despite the fact that you know he probably is a right little gobshite, you can’t help but like him. When he takes Pádraic into his house, creeping around so he doesn’t wake his father after a ‘wanking session’, to steal his booze, shows that he has a heart of gold, just perhaps not the brains to use it.
Farrell and Gleeson meanwhile are spectacular sparring partners, you can feel the exasperation from Gleeson as he tries, again and again to explain to Farrell what he wants. Farrell meanwhile has the innocent, gormless at times expression down to perfection.
My only gripe would be that, at nearly two hours long, you certainly feel every minute of it, but other than that, The Banshees Of Inisherin is simply wonderful.
22nd October 2022
THE QUICK SELL
Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.