The Banshees of Inisherin

The Banshees of Inisherin

Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.

  • Released:
  • Runtime: 114 minutes
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • Stars: Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan, Pat Shortt, Gary Lydon, Sheila Flitton, Jon Kenny, David Pearse, Bríd Ní Neachtain
  • Director: Martin McDonagh
  • proud_luddite - 14 May 2024
    brilliant acting and brilliant directing
    In a fictional island in Ireland in the 1920s (during the Irish Civil War), Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson) are long-time friends and drinking buddies. Suddenly, Colm turns sour on Pádraic and ends the friendship, choosing to spend more of his time writing music. Pádraic is heartbroken and cannot accept the change.

    In addition to the two main characters, there are other interesting ones that make up the mosaic of small-town life. They include Siobhán (Kerry Condon), Pádraic's sister with whom he shares the same family home where they grew up. Siobhán is the anchor of common sense (delivered with sharp wit) in a community filled with craziness. To the film's credit, it includes a good sub-story involving Siobhán.

    There's also Domimic (Barry Keoghan) who lives with his abusive father, Peadar (Gary Lydon) - the island's only police officer. In the beginning, Dominic comes off as the archetypal village idiot but writer/director Martin McDonagh is too smart to leave the impression that Dominic is no more than a laughingstock. The effect of domestic violence has its scars shown clearly in this film. A scene between Dominic and Siobhán is quite moving and exposes depth in both characters plus great acting by Keoghan and Condon.

    What initially seems comical (stubborn grudges) continually morphs into a serious heartbreaking drama. Interestingly, we never see the friendship and pub banter before Colm's sudden and determined decision to banish Pádraic. Colm's character also opens the debate of whether or not one can be creative without having to destroy friendships and other forms of self-destruction.

    Farrell perfectly portrays Párdaic as someone filled with self-doubt. In his stubborn determination to win back Colm's friendship, he is believably cringeworthy as he stupidly makes matters worse but throughout, it's always easy to see the heartbreak that stops him from thinking clearly.

    As the most shockingly dysfunctional character in the film, few could have pulled off the Colm role better than Gleeson. He is so powerful that in some rare scenes of showing "friendly relapse", it's easy to feel the same temporary relief and warmth as Párdaic does.

    The film is sometimes harsh; often bizarre; and always stunning. The beautiful settings help too and McDonagh uses the camera perfectly to capture them. Emotions are felt well beyond the film's ending. And the superb cast deserves the highest praise including some animal characters who were rightly mentioned in the credits. - dbamateurcritic

    RATING: 9 OUT OF 10


    • Directing by Martin McDonagh
    • Acting Ensemble.
  • martimusross - 27 February 2024
    It Just Lacked Emotional Intelligence.
    The Banshees of Inisherin

    The basic premise of this movie, two lifelong friends falling out is presented as exceptional, when it is beyond commonplace, the situation is merely exaggerated due to proximity and isolation. In reality you can withdraw from any relationship without the carnage displayed in this movie.

    The acting was brilliant but the psychological insight and emotional intelligence of this movie left a deeply flawed construct that I found quite distasteful, I think this movie offered nothing more than novelty.

    Furthermore, it never offered sufficient explanation for the premise as there usually lies a deep seated instigator as a driver for cruelty. Had I fallen out with a friend I would not remain in the same company as I would not want to remain there, I would not remain and hurt the person further, and there was no reason why one nor t'other did not move away.

    My casual observation is it had many elements of Samuel Beckett's work and his nihilistic idea that "there is nothing to be done!" I would add so many have said this piece is allegorical on the Irish civil war, however the playwright himself has refuted this interpretation.

    At best this is a 3 outta 10 for the styling and the acting and of course the Nelly the donkey, but to be really honest I haven't got much of a clue what this movie is really about!
  • Kingslaay - 13 January 2023
    A different sort of film
    Overall I liked 'The Banshees of Inisherin' but I also have mixed feelings about it. Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell deliver strong performances to try carry the film.

    There is something refreshing about a simplistic setting. The film is set in 1923 on a very simple and laid back island in Ireland. We have become conditioned to seeing CGI and over the top story lines and/or action sequences. So it's nice to see a film that relies on its story and performances. I feel this setup is the reason people have heaped praise on this film, a real story that isn't Marvel or another action/CGI film. The story is also relatable and understandable. One can see how a person might grow weary of a friendship or companion when you had little choice to begin with. They were an odd pairing from the start.

    My only contention is the story could have delved into something deeper. This simplistic setting could have explored the complexities of the human experience, no matter what the year was, you would find it deeply relatable. It could have been more thought provoking and questioned societies conventions or very nature of friendship, human fragility or something existential. In my humble little opinion this could have taken the film to a deeper level and a higher rating for me.
  • reasonabledreams - 12 January 2023
    Comedy? Sad wierd not in a good way
    They are already telling you spoilers, without saying how it proceeds to the end. I kept thinking, who thought of these plot points. Making this as if it were an allegory of life. No, I don't think so. Wierd, not In a good way. A SAD picture. A Bored, Mentally unbalanced man, self harms. In an isolated, small island village in Northern Ireland. Colin a nice, simple guy, is left alone, now bitter & isolated. No wife. No girlfriend No women. His loving sister leaves for a bigger life and wants him to join her. Is he too depressed to choose life.

    Winning Golden Globes as a Black, very black, Comedy.
  • briangeorgi - 11 January 2023
    I like this writer/director (McDonagh). I really like these two actors (Gleeson and Farrell). I loved the last time they all made a film (2008's excellent In Bruges). But this was strange journey.

    On a positive note, the performances were stellar across the board. Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell were in top form and I'll probably always watch any movie in which they have a lead. Kerry Condon made me think "Why isn't she in much more?" and Barry Keoghan remains one of the most riveting actors on screen. Beyond the performances, the film is beautifully shot and the dialogue is often hilarious (though I recommend subtitles for anyone who isn't actually from Ireland!).

    But good god, this movie gets darker and darker and more depressing as the minutes tick by and, worst of all, it left me confused. I read Alexis Potter's excellent review in the Arizona Republic and learned that the story is an allegory for the Irish Civil War. That's cool, I guess, but it was lost on this guy and sans that knowledge and background going in, I was left feeling like I spent 2 hours with a small group of drunk, depressed, unkind people who's struggles go unresolved.
  • jadavix - 8 January 2023
    McDonagh almost goes Lanthimos
    So, this is a strange one. I don't think I really got it. I will probably return to it later and watch it again and see if I understand it any better the second time.

    For the first half of "The Banshees of Inisherin", I was thinking that it might be the most Irish movie ever. The way the characters talk and behave, with easy familiarity with Irish slang and turns of phrase, makes it feel genuine and you catch up with it immediately. Irish English is like poetry, especially in conversation with others who speak it.

    At first, what's strange about the movie is that the plot seems to be about something relatively insignificant: a guy's lifelong friend telling him he doesn't want to be friends anymore. It is later in the movie that it takes a turn so bizarre that it made me think of other recent Colin Farrell flicks, namely "The Lobster" and "Killing of a Sacred Deer".

    McDonagh doesn't normally deal with the totally impossible, however. The gruesome acts of self-mutilation that we see are possible, but also disturbing and unlikely, and most of the characters seem unfazed by it, as though it's not totally crazy.

    The movie looks great. It's photographed amazingly. And it kept me mostly entertained. I was in it for the dialogue. McDonagh might write the best dialogue in film. I just couldn't swallow a lot of the goings-on in this movie. It seemed too bizarre to care about or take seriously.
  • anniegr - 7 January 2023
    Absolutely pointless
    That's two hours of my life I will never get back. No point, no meaning, no message. Definitely NOT A COMEDY. Wrong classification for sure. The film has nothing to offer but sad and gross moments. It left me disappointed and disgusted. I only feel sorry for the actors whom I like and admire. I suppose after covid everyone needed money and had to play some role. But it still is no excuse for this movie existing in the world of the arts. The only thing I can say is that for me and my friends it was an opportunity to spend a night wondering what the writer could have been going through when he wrote this script. Probably depression.
  • rubenm - 6 January 2023
    This is film making as it should be
    It's not difficult to find some deeper meaning in The Banshees of Inisherin. The story of how two friends become bitter enemies, seemingly for no reason at all, has a universal quality to it. One of them, Colm, prefers silence over chatter, creativity over banality, and playing music over drinking beer. The other one, Padraic, doesn't understand why his friend decides to offend him by making these choices. He prefers kindness over everything else. It's radicalism against pragmatism.

    If you look at it this way, the film is an allegory for the state of the world in 2023. Radicals are fighting pragmatists everywhere, from the US to Israel, and from Iran to Afghanistan. And the message of the film is clear: radicalism is a short cut to self harm. You'll understand it when you see the film.

    You can have endless discussions after seeing this film, which is why it's such a good movie. But even better: you don't have to search for a deeper meaning to enjoy it. It's already brilliant as just a crazy story about two people on a remote island off the Irish coast.

    The great thing about the movie is that it is hilarious at some points, but also very dramatic at other moments. It shares this quality with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the other masterpiece by director Martin McDonagh. The dialogue is very funny, but at the same time this is not an outright comedy, not even a black one. The script is a classic drama, with a good narrative arc and perfectly developed characters. There's no good versus bad in this film. Viewers can sympathize with both characters, because there's something to say for each of their arguments.

    And then there's one other great thing about the movie: the location. The isolated island and its tightly knit community, where the men gossip at the pub and the women at the grocery store, is a crucial element to the story. But it also adds a layer of pure beauty. The landscapes are nothing less than breathtaking.

    This is film making as it should be: a good story, great actors and strong direction. Just leave it to Martin McDonagh to deliver.
  • southdavid - 5 January 2023
    Fingers Crossed.
    Having seen the trailer for Martin McDonagh's "The Banshees of Inisherin" and being a big fan of "In Bruges" I was disappointed when I didn't have a chance to see it at the cinema, but it landed pretty quickly on Disney Plus where I took my opportunity. Though I have .... thoughts .... about the ending, generally I enjoyed it.

    On an Island, not far from the Irish mainland, Padraic Suillebhain (Colin Farrell) is shocked when his closest friend, Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson), tells his that he no longer wishes to be friends with him. He struggles to determine what he has done to drive Colm to this decision, which he is adamant about. Padraic's sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) tries to repair the relationship, but she has distractions of her own and, every so often, the sounds of gunfire come from the mainland.

    I haven't done much supporting reading for the film, so my assumptions here about what the film is about may not correspond with what McDonagh had in mind. But I saw the film as an allegory for the Civil War that was taking place in Ireland, in 1923 - and perhaps even for wider civil wars. A trivial annoyance is escalated through poor communication and then taken to extreme violent lengths. All the while the participants ignore a bigger problem, that they're aware of, until that reaches catastrophe.

    I know the "Black Comedy" description has proved divisive, but I did find the film regularly funny and thought the performances from the central four (the three mentioned above and Barry Keoghan) were excellent. I couldn't help but feel that the ending was somewhat of an anti-climax though, specifically in the very final scenes, rather than the surprising ones that proceed it. I don't have a better alternative in mind, but it ends with a whimper, rather than a bang.

    I had my issues with "Three Billboards" but for me, this was a big improvement.
  • SnoopyStyle - 3 January 2023
    dark and humorous
    On a remote Irish island, Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell) and Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) used to be best friends. Out of the blue, Colm declares that he no longer wants Pádraic to talk to him. He thinks that Pádraic is too boring and life is too short to waste talking to boring people. Pádraic lives with his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon).

    This starts a bit quirky. Then it gets dark. It has some funny moments. Then it gets real dark. There're some more laughs and the darkness never leaves. It's very Irish. Colin Farrell is playing against type and that takes some getting used to at first. All the actors are delivering great work. The dog delivers the biggest laugh. I really appreciate Barry Keoghan who does this sort of character like no one else. It's an Irish macabre tragic comedy.