FILM REVIEW: The Banshees of Inisherin

banshees movie on instagram

Evie Shields reviews the Irish motion picture that swept this year’s Oscar categories clean.

5 stars

Nestled among the greatest pieces of cinema 2022 had to offer, Martin McDonagh’s latest beauty ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ is a tragic tale of a dying friendship that is devastatingly funny.

The film is a heart-breaking illustration of a faded life-long male friendship. Pàdraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson) portray two men who couldn’t be more different yet couldn’t be any closer. Pàdraic thinks himself the island’s second biggest idiot, where Colm is a musician, intelligent and thoughtful. They have the same daily routine and take the same walk to the Island pub every day. Pàdraic calls for Colm at the same time every day. A friendship of convenience, maybe, but that does not change their routine. Until one day, Colm doesn’t answer the door. He stays in his chair.

Pàdraic runs to his beloved sister Siobhan, who jokes that perhaps Colm just doesn’t like him anymore. This becomes almost the film’s punchline, and a harrowing fact to face. Colm himself even tells Pàdraic that he, infact, just does not like him anymore. Instantly, Pàdraic is devastated – they’re best friends! But Colm, however, is deadly serious; vowing that for every time his old friend comes near him, he will chop off a finger – this is a threat he follows through entirely with.  

The film is set in 1923 on a tiny fictional island in Ireland, Inisherin (translating roughly to Island Ireland). No matter what is going on elsewhere – in this case, the Irish Civil War – there is nothing quite as dramatic as whatever is going on close to home. Nothing feels like the end of the world like losing a friend. Early in the film, Pàdraic looks across the water and says: “Good luck to you, whatever it is you’re fighting about.”  Farrell’s performance steals the entire movie. There is no surprise in his nomination for Best Actor this year. Overall, Banshees has received 9 Academy Award nominations. The dull, cool colour scheme makes the film itself feel so much truer and enhances the sadness of the characters and the country, whilst also serving as a beautiful piece of art. A five-star must see film.