“The Banshees of Inisherin” (2022)- Movie Review

Writer/Director: Martin McDonagh

Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan

                                                                                                 ‘Meaningful Masterpiece’

Friendships are fragile relationships that rarely last forever without hardships.  It’s challenging to overcome grief after losing comrades whose brief support once used to be a source of relief. There’s nothing that hurts more than when a friend you regard as a brother in Civil War gives you the cold shoulder. Drifting apart from friends that hold special places in your heart is as depressing as seeing loved ones depart. Like mothers building three billboards to overcome daughters’ harsh passing, friendship breakups cultivate mourning. As heartbreaking as divorce, there’s nothing worse than accepting friendship has run its course. A crucial life process, friendships are hard to maintain with success. From personal perspectives, I’ve found making comrades to be challenging. As an anti-social person, making social network contacts has been an obstacle. My breakup memories date back to high-school studies. A close companion’s separation left me heartbroken. Since we got along well together, I thought bonds would last forever. Initially, there was no sign our relations would decline. Little did I realize that I was in for surprise when my buddy broke ties. Years later, we have lost touch with each other. The sad fact is I’ve lost all contact with a friend I used to attract. Looking back in retrospect, I wonder why my comrade lost respect. Today, I’ve learnt friendships are ill-fated bonds not to be taken for granted. It’s easier said than done for me to move on. How does it feel to ignore comrades you don’t adore anymore?

As someone tormented by ill-fated friendship, I connected with Martin McDonagh’s Oscar-nominated masterpiece “The Banshees of Inisherin”. Intimate, heartbreaking and thought-provoking, it demonstrates friendship hardships. McDonagh encapsulates companions whose lives disintegrate when they separate. Boasting awe-inspiring production-design, engrossing storytelling and phenomenal performances, it’s an extraordinary period piece. Ultimately, its heartwarming message will resonate with everyone making life-changing decisions to abandon celebrated companions.

Amidst an isolated Ireland island in the 1920’s, “The Banshees of Inisherin” follows companions whose bond is tested. Colin Farrell embodies Padriac, a farmer heartbroken following rejection from comrades. Padriac seeks to explore reasons why drinking buddy Colm (Brendan Gleeson) refuses to meet him anymore. However, Padriac’s relationship faces danger when his friend exercises extreme measures by cutting fingers. Experiencing despair, Padriac struggles confronting relationships beyond repair.

Martin McDonagh is fascinated in friendship hardships. Whether its grief-stricken gangsters, mothers building three billboards or psychopathic killers, his films follow characters whose friendships experience danger. With “The Banshees of Inisherin”, however, McDonagh crafts a historical drama. It’s the filmmaker’s attempts to dramatize the lives of friends breaking ties during Irish Civil War demise, but he succeeds. Using captivating cinematography, the director captures Ireland’s beauty. Evoking Ken Loach’s “The Wind that Shakes the Barley”, McDonagh showcases Ireland locations demonstrating wartime isolation. From breathtaking beaches to luminous landscapes, Irish locations capture separation emotions. Ireland is all-too-often misrepresented in movies. Movies about Ireland often highlight its scenery rather than wartime history. For instance, Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster” portrayed the country as glamorous futures where individuals’ destinies depend upon romantic partners. As Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” proved, real-life Irish locations showcasing children’s imagination disrespect the nation’s wartime conditions. Nevertheless, locations succeed. Alongside cinematographer Ben Davis, McDonagh encapsulates Ireland’s beauty. McDonagh demonstrates Ireland’s relationships, crafting a film deserving theatrical viewing. 

If friends building barriers don’t attract you towards theaters, however, there’s countless reasons to see “The Banshees of Inisherin”. From technical perspectives, it’s arguably the greatest film McDonagh has made to date. Assisted by production-designer Mark Tildesley, McDonagh constructs bar settings as backdrop for breakup mourning. For instance, bars are showcased during the argument scene. During this unforgettable sequence, the drunken Padriac argues with Colm in the bar. One appreciates set-design capturing breakups in socializing styles recalling David Fincher’s “The Social Network”. Like Mark Zuckerberg’s bar breakup, Padriac confronts companions in pubs. Through clever bar set-design, McDonagh showcases tension faced by friends going through a separation. Bars are tricky settings. As McDonagh’s “In Bruges” proved, bars are problematic settings that portray Irish people as alcoholics. However, it works. Moreover, Carter Burwell’s score is superb. Evoking Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine”, it demonstrates separation emotions. Through phenomenal production-design, McDonagh captures camaraderie. 

Another extraordinary “The Banshees of Inisherin” aspect is the screenplay. McDonagh’s screenwriting strength is evoking empathy for friends experiencing breakups through foreshadowing. Hollywood often portrays friendships as lifelong bonds that are destined to face neat-and-tidy resolutions. Case-in-point: Frank Darabont’s “The Shawshank Redemption” portrayed friendships as relations allowing prisoners to accomplish redemption. Fortunately, however, “The Banshees of Inisherin” avoids problems. McDonagh addresses friendships facing demise. Emulating “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri”, McDonagh signals end of friendships through foreshadowing. For instance, the banshees witches foreshadow sorrow faced by friends ending friendships centuries ago. Recalling three billboards Mildred builds to protest daughter’s murder, the banshees foreshadow friendship barriers. Foreshadowing is tricky. Foreshadowing elevates biographies about musicians’ rivalries (ex. Milos Forman’s “Amadeus”). As Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” proved, foreshadowing makes movies predictable. Nevertheless, it succeeds. Through extraordinary storytelling, McDonagh demonstrates separation.

One appreciates astonishing performances. 

Colin Farrell delivers a career-defining performance as Padriac. Farrell is often typecast as alcoholic gangsters (ex. McDonagh’s “Seven Psychopaths”). With “The Banshees of Inisherin”, however, he portrays his most complex character. Capturing breakup mourning is challenging. However, Farrell succeeds. Evoking Robert Downey Jr. in the Russo Brothers’ “Captain America: Civil War”, he crafts a hero seeking to protect his iron heart from breakup. With riveting expressions, he conveys angst, disillusionment and resentments of a conflicted companion. It’s a breathtaking performance.

Brendan Gleeson is brilliant as a rude musician whose bad mood causes feud with a friend he once valued. Gleeson expertly plays characters with negative attitudes (ex. John Michael McDonagh’s “Calvary”), and this role showcases his strengths. Evoking Casey Affleck in Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea”, Gleeson crafts a loner cutting communication with friends following loss of companions. Whether he’s threatening Padriac by cutting fingers or confessing sins to preachers, Gleeson embodies friends starting breakups through body-language. It’s a superb performance from Ireland’s finest actor.

Lastly, Kerry Condon is unforgettable. As Padriac’s supportive sister, she’s heartbreaking.

Finally, “The Banshees of Inisherin” earns appreciation of everyone cutting communication with close companions. Evoking John Crowley’s “Brooklyn”, the film resonates with anyone forced to separate from those they love rather than hate. The film tackles universal themes such as depression, family and mortality. Viewers don’t need to be Irish to appreciate the movie. Despite occurring in 1920’s Ireland, it reflects modern-day friendships. Thus, “The Banshees of Inisherin” pleases everyone.

Fans of arthouse dramas will certainly recognize “The Banshees of Inisherin” and so will audiences wanting heartwarming entertainment. A powerful piece of art, it suggests Cinema has abilities to repair shattered hearts of people whose friendships fall apart. As frightening as the finger Colm injures, it’s a remorseful reminder showcasing disillusionment of centuries-old friendship breakup that allows modern audiences facing harsh relationships to experience acknowledgements no bond where people frequently get along well together without facing any institutionalization stressor is ever intended to last forever.

Like three billboards signs that represent glimmers of hope for mothers mourning loss of daughters, hopefully it will allow modern audiences to recover after losing friends that disappear from their lives as quickly as daughters whose mysterious murders elude police-officers.

A devastating depiction of a separation decision’s dark repercussion, it’s a realistic reminder that friendships are scarcely long-lasting relations that are destined neat-and-tidy resolution that inspire inmates of Shawshank prisons to miraculously achieve redemption.

If movies create empathy for companions cutting communications abruptly, hopefully seeing friends torn apart by priority to run social network companies will allow modern audiences reeling from separation choices to reconcile past companions’ memory.

As someone haunted by nightmares of being rejected by a friend I once respected, it’s reassuring to be reminded movies can allow me to recover from ill-fated breakup as sad as banshees tales many years after being separated with companions I’ve taken for granted.

5/5 stars

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