The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)
Updated: Jan 21
In my humble opinion, Martin McDonagh can do no wrong and he's welcome round my place, ever he needs a warm smile, a hot meal and a safe place to lay his head. And while I admire him greatly, I appreciate that he is not everyone's cup of tea and that even the supremely talented have creative highs and not so highs.
Inisherin, a fictional island off the coast of Ireland is still recovering from the aftermath of the Irish Civil War in 1923, and whilst only a short boat ride from the main island of Ireland, it still feels isolated and bleak, with its unforgiving climate and lack of any real comforts as such, aside from the pub. Depending on your point of view, its greatest plus is probably its community.
Quite far removed from the likes of Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards, McDonagh's star-studded previous works, this is obviously a natural progression from In Bruges, the last time he, Farrell and Gleeson all rolled their collective sleeves up and got down to it. Whilst their characters are markedly different this time around, the joy is the way they work effortlessly together as a productive unit, joined chewingly well here by Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan in this predictably quirky and unusual tale.
As is mostly the case, I feel, his writing outstrips his direction, though both here are great examples of his seemingly innate abilities. His style is traditionally unhurried and inglorious and he doesn't rush this simple windswept yarn of two lifelong friends having a one-sided falling out, and the rather brutal effect it has on them and those around them.
The performances are outstanding with all of the main players doing incredible work, with McDonagh pulling out the best from all of them. Inisherin is, if it helps, a mostly humourless Craggy Island, though amongst the grim tragedy, there is the occasional helpless, mostly guilty, chuckle to be had. The whole project made me feel even colder than I did anyway, given the unwelcoming cinematography and harsh, barren landscaping. Overall, worthy award bait for all involved, not least McDonagh who whilst he had ups and downs, even these are only 'excellent' and 'great' and back again.