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4.5 Stars for The Banshees of Inisherin

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Summary: Set in 1923, on a remote island near the west coast of Ireland, The Banshees Of Inisherin follows lifelong buddies Padraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson), who suddenly reach an impasse when Colm decides to end to their friendship. A shocked and hurt Padraic, advised by his sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and an idiot islander (Barry Keoghan), aims to repair the friendship and won’t take no for an answer. But Padraic's repeated efforts only fortify his former friend's resolve. When Colm delivers a desperate ultimatum, events intensify, with deplorable results.

What the above summary leaves out is that this film is a treasure, if you like allegorical Irish tales that make you smile, scoff, or holler, “Oh, No!” one after another. The Banshees of Inisherin is a character-driven elegy, with only a few action scenes. Otherwise, the rythmic plotting and authentic dialogue are augmented by delicious shots of Irish countryside.

Over and above the unique story line, the actors make this film special. The two friends Colin Farrell (Oscar!) and Brendan Gleeson play off one another until their questionable battle becomes a metaphor for the Irish Civil War being played out within earshot on the Irish Mainland.

As in most black comedies, there are lighthearted moments, one when a dog tries to prevent his master from misusing a pair of shears. And there’s a priest (David Pearce) who is perfect for this dismal collective of Irishmen. In one scene, the priest loses his temper and tells a confessor to get out of his confessional and never return.

To say more would be a bunch of spoilers, as this is a simple plot. At first, it flabbergasts you with the thought that, naw, these guys are not really gonna do this, are they? That's because some early scenes set you up for an Irish comedy that brings only a smile. But a darkness arises within this film, since these island residents are trapped by their heritage. Only one key character is brave enough to leave, while the rest are stuck in a place that is theirs by birth, but it’s to their disadvantage that they were born in such a place.

Pat-Oh-Meter Rating: This gets a 4.5. My lit-major side adores films like these, and the Hubster loved it too. If you do give this film a try, the two actors’ performances will stick with you for days, especially Padraic's transformation in the ending scene. His resolve speaks volumes about the nature of humans, even today.

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