Five years after the perfect “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”, Martin McDonagh made an equally wonderful film. A film that is thematically and stylistically completely different from its predecessors, yet simply perfect, unrepeatable, original, emotional, touching and humorous. McDonagh paired Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson again after “In Bruges”, and they are now two best friends who live on an island in the far west of Ireland, Inisherin, in the 1920s. But one day, the older of the two, the violinist Colm (Gleeson) will just say to the younger Padraic (Farrell) – I don’t like you anymore and I don’t want to be friends with you anymore. I’m tired of your empty and boring conversations and I don’t want to talk to you for the rest of my life.
And while it’s completely normal for a man to simply cut off all contact with a girlfriend or ex-wife with whom he broke up, once you become friends with someone, it’s not customary to break up with them in this way. The somewhat simple-minded Padraic, the country’s carefree jovial, a simple guy who doesn’t bother with some profound questions, will be completely executed. It is not clear to him what he did to make Colm no longer want him as a friend. Maybe he said something to him drunk and he doesn’t remember it? The realization that Colm no longer wants to be his friend will completely haunt him and lead to the fact that he will completely transform into a completely different person from what everyone in the village called him.
According to Irish legend, the term “Banshee” represents a female spirit whose appearance is actually a warning to the family that one of them will soon die. That Banshee here may be the old Mrs. McCormick who everyone avoids and she seems almost like a ghost, and she will be hosted at the beginning by Padraic’s sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon perfectly matches the leading male duo). So even though Padraic is loved and liked by practically all the island’s residents, he will not just come to terms with the fact that he suddenly became boring to yesterday’s best friend who decided to spend the rest of his life in peace and quiet, composing music without someone constantly suffocating him with boring stories .
And on the one hand, Colm can be understood to some extent, because we all probably know some guys who are simply jerks, but who, due to some social norms, we can’t get rid of just like that. Very soon, the situation between Padraic and Colm will escalate, and the conflict between the two can be seen as a metaphor for the Irish civil war, which is raging at the time, and every now and then the inhabitants of this fictional island hear gunshots and explosions echoing from the mainland. It is one of those films that gets under the viewer’s skin from the very beginning and one wonders how such a seemingly banal story can develop. But McDonagh once again showed that he is an absolute grandmaster because this is a masterful tragicomedy, so funny and so sad at the same time.
It’s an excellent film about male friendship and loneliness, because both Padraic and Colm are single men who practically do nothing except to be in the pub at exactly two o’clock every day and that’s how their days pass. McDonagh seems to be trying to capture the Irish spirit, their blues, that Irish stubbornness and stubbornness, the willingness to persevere in what you imagined, even if it was complete madness, as is the case here. It is also a film about small souls, isolated small places full of embittered, sad and unfulfilled people who probably never aspired to something greater in life, but what they had was quite enough for them. As great as the characters of Padraic and Colm are, so is Siobhan, a woman who apparently sacrificed all her dreams, ambitions and desires to take care of her brother because he doesn’t seem capable of an independent life.
After a while we will realize that Siobhan is not wrong because Padraic will not stop despairing over Colm’s sudden decision and his new best friend will become his pet, a miniature donkey. Masterfully McDonagh also uses those Irish expanses, that relaxing and calming greenery bordered by the blue of the sea. “The Banshees of Inisherin” is a film that fascinates from the beginning and starts as a silly, playful, almost anecdotal banter, and over time grows into something almost mythical.
In a deep character study of the extremes of the human spirit and character, in an almost absurdist, existentialist tragicomedy about the meaninglessness of human existence and the realization that soon after we die, no one will even remember that we existed at all.
This realization seems to start haunting Colm and he seems to have decided to leave some mark on the old days, and Padraic could be the weight that pulls him away from immortality. The time he spends with him getting drunk in the pub and listening to his idle stories about the color of the shit that his donkey pooped on, Colm seems to have decided to spend more constructively and usefully. At least that’s what he thinks, although somewhere in the depths of his soul he is aware that it is nonsense, but it is easier to find the cause of the vanity of his own life in someone else. There is a great dialogue between the two about what it means to be a good person and how important it really is. This whole movie is great, with both Farrell and Gleeson in great form again, and it wouldn’t be amiss if either of them, if not both of them, finally got some worthwhile acting awards.