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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Banshees of Inisherin - Colin Ferrell, Brendan Gleason, Kerry London, Gary Lydon - Movie Review

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4sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is GOOD Judy Thorburn

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4lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is GOOD





The Banshees of Inisherin

The repercussions of a sudden dissolved close friendship is the subject of writer/director Martin McDonagh's latest film,(a followup to his Oscar-winning “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)” , a black comedy, that unites the stars of his 2008 film “In Bruge”, Colin Ferrell and Brendan Gleason. In that film they played hitmen. In “The Banshees of Inisherin”, the blows are deep and more personal.

The film is set in 1923 on the fictional island of Inisherin off the coast of Ireland during the Irish Civil War. As one war rages on in the distance, another war rages on the small remote island between two men, which provides a basis for a political allegory.

Farrell plays Pádraic, a man who lives and works on his farm with his comely, sensible sister, Siobhán (Kerry London) and his beloved, (scene stealing) miniature pony, Jenny. The highlight of Padraic's life is his daily meet up with his longtime, best friend, Colm (Gleason) with whom he enjoys spending time together at the local pub.

One afternoon, when Padraic comes to pick up his friend, Colm refuses to answer the door and is seen from the window sitting in his chair smoking a cigarette. Bewildered and having no idea why he is suddenly being dissed, Padraic sets out to confront Colm and is alarmed and hurt to hear Colm say he no longer likes Padraic, and no longer wants to talk or interact with him. The reason Colm gives is that he finds Padraic to be dull and boring, spends too much time endlessly chatting and no longer has a place in his life. Colm, who is suffering from depression, wants to spend the rest of his life playing his fiddle and leaving behind a music legacy.

Everyone in the small village knows everyone's business; so while they all think Colm's behavior is not nice, he doesn't care because, he says, “no one remembers being nice, while music lives on”.
Unable leave his former friend alone Padraic becomes obsessed with trying to reconcile with the older man, even when he is given an ultimatum to stay away, and is threatened with drastic, extreme and gruesome measures that snowballs into tragic consequences. Without giving more away, let me just add, the expression “to cut off your nose to spite our face” comes to mind.

While the story starts off with some comedic dialogue and funny moments it soon takes a very dark turn that entails shocking, insidious, behavior.

Both leads are excellent, once again showing great chemistry. Colin Farrell is at the top of his game, inwardly conveying a man who is fragile and emotionally distraught, a side we are not used to seeing the actor display on screen. You can't help but sympathize with his character, a sweet and simple man whose sad eyes are like those of a lost puppy abandoned by its owner.

Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan (as the mentally challenged Dominic, the abused son of the town constable played by Gary Lydon) are standouts in the fine supporting cast that also features Sheila Filtin as Mrs. McCormack, an old, pipe smoking, woman whose creepy, witchlike, occasional presence speaks as a harbinger of doom.

The Banshees of Inisherin tackles a subject that people who have experienced heartbreak from a broken relationship can relate to, but takes it to an unexpected, extreme place that is macabre and very disturbing, to say the least. Although not for the faint of heart, in the hands of the skillful filmmaker McDonagh, his unique approach, matched with a superb cast, results in a memorable, well crafted film that draws you in and keeps you on your toes right up to the final scene.  




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