The Banshees of Inisherin has been categorized as a comedy. And while there are a few funny moments, maybe more awkward than funny, this movie is far from a laugh riot. I guess it’s more of a comedy of exasperation. Unless you find loneliness and despair on a tiny, rural island off the coast of Ireland in 1923 with bombs going off on the mainland hysterical.
Simply put, one day Pádraic (Colin Farrell) suddenly finds that his friend Colm (Brendan Gleeson) doesn’t want to be friends anymore. Colm tells Pádraic straight off that he’s dull and doesn’t want to waste his time with him anymore. Understandably, it’s a tough to swallow, Pádraic wants to know if he’s done something or offended Colm in some way. It’s not that, Colm just seems to think their friendship is a waste and he’d rather focus on music. He’s writing a beautiful piece on his violin. But when Pádraic keeps pestering Colm, he warns Padric that he will cut off his own fingers each time Padric tries to talk to him. I mean, the man values playing his violin …how serious can he be?
***Spoiler Alert*** He’s fe*kin’ serious. A thump and a splash of blood on Pádraic’s front door confirms that Colm would rather cut off his own fiddle playing fingers rather than deal with Pádraic. We could laugh and say these grown men just need a decent therapist, but the only thing close to that on their little island is the bartender down at the pub.
The rest of the island is just as fe*ked up. The policeman’s son, Dominic (Barry Keoghan) is either hiding from his abusive father or bothering the women in the pub. The unfriendly shop lady is desperate for any news going around, even opening letters that aren’t hers. And showing up out of the blue is this ghoulish old woman who seems to know everyone’s business and loves stirring up trouble. The only one who isn’t fe*ked up is Pádraic’s sister, Siobhán (Kerry Condon). Maybe that’s why she’ll get a chance to leave.
The infamous “I’m nice!” scene stands out for the perfect acting and the message Pádraic is trying to drunkenly convey. “I’m nice” sure, kindness may not be remembered historically like Mozart but it helps keep the world spinning and makes it all a little more bearable. Don’t push nice people away. If you push them too far and alienate them, who knows what they might do.
The Banshees of Inisherin is currently nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture. Martin McDonagh is nominated for best director, his first nomination in the category. Colin Farrell is nominated for lead actor. Brendan Gleeson is nominated for supporting actor, along with Barry Keoghan. And Kerry Condon is nominated for best supporting actress. This is each actor’s first Oscar nomination. The film is also nominated for original score, original screenplay and film editing.
Without putting to much wind into it, this is a beautifully shot film depicting despair, isolation and loneliness in such a remote place where anyone’s business becomes everyone’s gossip. The budding spring on this Irish isle is picturesque but the people make it bleak. If only they could all be as nice as Pádraic, but even he can be pushed to do mean things. Justice for Jenny!
“I do worry sometimes I might just be entertaining myself while staving off the inevitable.”