#TIFF22: “THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN”
By Amanda Gilmore
Writer-Director Martin McDonagh’s latest is set on the fictional island of Inisherin, just off Ireland’s west coast. Pádraic (Colin Farrell delivering a knockout performance) and Colm (a hilarious Brendan Gleeson) have been lifelong friends, well until now. Out of nowhere, Colm tells Pádraic that he doesn’t want to be friends anymore. For the life of him, Pádraic cannot figure out why.
This pitch-black, pitch-perfect comedic fable is McDonagh at his best. It touches on wounded friendship and grievances that lead to shocking consequences, fittingly set during the Irish Civil War in 1923. Just like in true McDonagh fashion, his Script is laced with brutally honest characters. Farrell and Gleeson reunite with McDonagh after their 2008 smash hit In Bruges to give us the two nuanced, distinctive characters.
At first, Pádraic can’t understand why Colm doesn’t want to be his friend anymore. And neither can the audience. However, we soon see that Colm just wants to leave an indelible mark on the world with his music. And he doesn’t think he can achieve that by spending all his time with Pádraic. Yet, it’s Pádraic’s refusal to accept the end of their friendship that leads Colm to make a gruesome ultimatum. It’s one that is so absurd, it’s hilarious.
Just like in many small towns, this feud between lifelong friends becomes everyone’s business. The most impacted is Pádraic’s sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon). She must deal with the depression her brother falls into over the feud. Condon is outstanding as the smart Siobhan. Then there’s the young, often daft, Dominic (Barry Keoghan). Dominic isn’t the brightest guy in town, but he’s the nicest guy with the biggest heart. Keoghan leaves a lasting impact.
Overall, McDonagh delivers a hilarious narrative that makes us think about forgiving our past grievances. All the laughs make us consume the heavy themes of the Film. Primarily that fact that feuds tend to grow bigger and lead to more serious, often violent, outcomes. This is shown in the intimate story of their wounded friendship and the war seen across the bay. The entire Cast knock it out of the park. It’s truly one of the greatest Films of the year.
The Banshees of Inisherin screens as follows at TIFF ’22:
Mon, Sep 12 IN-PERSON at Visa Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre at 6:30 pm
Tue, Sep 13 IN-PERSON at Royal Alexandra Theatre at 1:30 pm
Thu, Sep 15 IN-PERSON at Scotiabank Theatre at 9:00 pm
Sat, Sep 17 IN-PERSON at Real Alexandra Theatre at 8:30 pm