The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh, 2022, Irleand/UK/USA)

The Banshees of Inisherin is the latest film from writer-director Martin McDonagh. McDonagh's films, despite their small number (he has directed four features in total), usually receive high accolades - and Banshees is no exception. The film brings back the team from McDonagh's excellent debut feature In Bruges - Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. As is usual with McDonagh's work, Banshees has minimalist energy, and like most of his works has the feel of a stage play (McDonagh has his roots in the theater). The film is opened up with the gorgeous setting - the verdant shores of the fictional island of Inisherin off the coast of Ireland. 

The film's minimalism also appears in the plot - at least on the surface. Gleeson's character, Colm, decides one day that he no longer wants to be friends with or associate with Farrell's character, Padraic. At first, this is merely humorous. The writing in the film is top-notch, and there is a great deal of dark humor within it. The film begins to take a darker turn when Colm tells Padraic that he will begin cutting off his fingers if he continues to keep speaking with him. This, as it turns out, is no lie. More skeptical viewers will lose the film at this point, but if you accept the absurdity of this, you are in for a treat.

The film, set during the time of the Irish Civil War, clearly has a metaphorical resonance with the political situation in Ireland at the time - the fight between Colm and Padraic soon becomes a dueling conflict with no end in sight. At the same time, this is also a film about a midlife crisis - the eternal challenge between being a great man or accepting normalcy and the mundane niceties of life. 



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