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The Banshees of Inisherin - Film Review

★★★★★

Written & Directed by: #MartinMcDonagh

 

As part of BFI London Film Festival 2022

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin

Easily the best I’ve watched at the festival this year; The Banshees of Inisherin is a film about friendship and rivalry, with two brilliant actors reuniting with director Martin McDonagh for the first time since his 2008 classic In Bruges. From the opening shot to the last, this richly engaging and funny film transports you to a small fictional town in Ireland, where everyone knows each other and nothing is a secret.


From In Bruges to Three Billboards, McDonagh’s skilful writing has always blended sharp humour with heartfelt undertones, and it’s no different with his new film. You can expect more of his cold, dead-pan wit; it fills almost every page of this brilliant script. There’s a feeling that I sensed the room tonight; the atmosphere thickened because everyone knew that they were about to go on a ride. The audience was game from the second McDonagh and his two leading men, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson took to the stage. Once the lights went down, silence creeped into the air and within minutes of the film starting, we all collectively remembered what it felt like to be inside a world created by Martin McDonagh.

Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan in The Banshees of Inisherin

After realising he wants to stop “aimlessly chatting” with his friend to pursue a musical career, from which his name might be remembered decades after his death grants him leave of this place, Colm (Gleeson) one day decides to give Pádraic (Farrell) the cold shoulder. Pádraic—and the rest of the town—can’t figure out why, so he starts questioning him and after several attempts to reconcile, things get a bit out of hand. With help from the strange young man Dominic, played by a dominating Barry Keoghan, and his sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon), he decides that the friendship he held onto with such respect, might have been a lie all along. Throughout the film, we follow Pádraic as he grapples with himself to discover whether or not his friend was ever a nice guy at all, and a staggering sequence of chaotic events lead to a striking yet simplistic final few moments.


The Banshees of Inisherin is presented very much like a stage play for the big screen, and it’s all the more stronger for it. Just like McDonagh’s previous work, it shines in its bleak and blunt nature. The comedy excels, the drama triumphs and the excellent blending of the two makes for a very exciting cinema experience. I think I knew that The Banshees of Inisherin would be my favourite selection at this year’s festival, but even then, I wasn’t prepared for how much I’d end up liking it.

Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin

BFI London Film Festival 2022 runs from October 5th - 16th, for more info visit: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff


 

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