Martin McDonagh’s partnership with the duo of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson is as iconic as Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost. McDonagh has made films in between, such as “Seven Psychopaths” and the Academy Award-Winning “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (my personal favorite of his). It has been too long since we have seen these three together, and the brilliant satirical dark comedy of “In Bruges” is something I have been eager to see replicated with their latest, “The Banshees of Inisherin.”
Colin Farrell has had one hell of a year with standout performances in “After Yang,” “The Batman,” “Thirteen Lives,” and now this. He’s never been better, and I see a clear path to his very first Oscar nomination, and unless something goes awry with Brendan Fraser in “The Whale,” possibly even a win. Farrell’s Pádraic is so compassionate, and you don’t quite understand why what is happening to him is happening to him. As the film goes on, you uncover the reason behind the impasse, and despite the unkindness of Gleeson’s character, you can sort of see where he’s coming from. Now, the lengths he goes to shoo Farrell are unrealistic, but that is what’s so tragic about it; when your long-time best friend would harm themself rather than spend another second talking to you is depressing.
Opposite Farrell, Brendan Gleeson is also fantastic as Colm, Pádraic’s friend who, all of a sudden, decides he doesn’t want to be friends anymore. Gleeson is overdue for an Oscar nomination at this point. Is this his best work? Far from it, but it would be blasphemy to deny such a duo each their first nominations in the same year. Again, if something happens and Ke Huy Quan doesn’t win for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Gleeson could pull it off. He manages to play so well off of Farrell that, even if not for the incredibly clever and funny dialogue, I could watch these two bickering for hours.
While the film’s main focus is on the two friends falling out, I found myself attached just as much to the supporting characters. Kerry Condon has been around for a while, but this is what will be considered her breakout role. She plays Siobhán, Pádraic’s sister, and the sibling dynamic between Condon and Farrell is absolutely electric. The supporting actress category is slightly weaker from a winning perspective, and I wouldn’t be against giving it to Condon.
Barry Keoghan is great here as well. He’s portrayed as more of an outcast on the island of Inisherin than Pádraic is, and it was honestly saddening. His character is almost constantly played as a joke. He’s a dull, dumb person who is the only one on the island to give Pádraic the time. Yet, he is perceived by Pádraic the exact same way Pádraic is perceived by Colm. His character’s conclusion was far from earned, and it didn’t exactly make me feel the way for what I believed the film was going for.
The cinematography, editing, and technical aspects make the 1923 Ireland landscape look absolutely gorgeous. It’s the funny, endearing, and poignant script, displaying much more than a broken friendship, that made “The Banshees of Inisherin” hit a lot harder than it could have. Time flies by, and people come and go sooner than we think. I have a good feeling this will only get better with rewatches.
Final Grade: B+
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