The Banshees Of Inisherin Makes You Laugh In Discomfort

The Banshees Of Inisherin still of Colm (Brendan Gleeson) sitting inside his home staring ahead as Pádraic (Colin Farrell) stares at him at the window.

There is feuding, and then there is The Banshees Of Inisherin. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, this dark comedy looks at what happens when two friends separate, but one does not want to go away. Set in 1923, the residents on the small island of Inisherin, off the coast of Ireland, lead a quiet life. But disputes and conflicts can last a while.

When Pádraic’s (Colin Farrell) friend, Colm (Brendan Gleeson), tells Pádraic they are no longer friends, Pádraic’s refusal to accept it leads the pair down a destructive and funny path. With a bland reason to end a friendship, The Banshees Of Inisherin brings lively, macabre humor and a dull ache of sadness where you laugh and hurt at how far these ex-friends go. 

From Friends To Nothing Is Impossible In The Banshees Of Inisherin

The Banshees Of Inisherin still of Siobhán (Kerry Condon) standing in a grassy area on the island in a red coat looking off to the side.
Kerry Condon in the film THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN. Photo by Jonathan Hession. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.

When Pádraic visits Colm’s home and shouts through the window, Colm sits there and ignores him. His sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) gives an unknowingly prophetic declaration that maybe Colm does not like him anymore. After a trip to the bar, Colm’s home, and back to the bar, Pádraic realizes his sister is right. Colm wants nothing to do with Pádraic. Colm tells Pádraic not to speak to or bother him ever again. But with such a small island and one pub, avoidance is impossible, and proximity brings problems for both. 

Friends fall out for many reasons, from drifting apart to a big blowout. But telling your friend you do not like them anymore because they are dull is elementary school-level nonsense. Unfortunately, between Pádraic and Colm, there is more than enough immaturity between them. On the one hand, you want these two friends to work it out and feel bad for Pádraic. On the other, Colm does not need a good reason, and since this is 1923, mental health care is not what it is now. Colm struggles with depression. Both spiral, taking their obsession to get close or get away from each other to extremes

Hilarious And Morbid, But It Is Not All Laughs

The Banshees Of Inisherin still of Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and Dominic (Barry Keoghan) sitting in a pub looking upset and confused.
Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan in the film THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Yes, it is a dark comedy; pretty dark in fact. But the dialogue and delivery make you laugh in shock and surprise. Even as the situation takes a turn for the macabre, you cannot help but laugh in moments. The music also helps, blending a dreariness with a comedic twang. There is plenty of offbeat humor, but some parts are not funny, but tragic—particularly the life of Dominic Kearney (Barry Keoghan). The Banshees of Inisherin tries to make Dominic’s life comedic to inspire laughter, but it did not get a chuckle out of me. Dominic does not suffer abuse on screen, but the unexpected addition caught me off guard. 

The dullest reason for a film, under the direction of Martin McDonagh and the clueless, needy, and exasperated characters, becomes a powerhouse of entertainment. The cast all deliver in their respective roles, evoking conflicting emotions in the viewer. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are superb together; their chemistry is unsurprising given their previous roles in “In Bruges,” another Martin McDonagh film. Kerry Condon stands out as she struggles to maintain her wits amidst the unraveling conflict. In lesser hands, a film like The Banshees of Inisherin would not reach those high dark comedy notes, but thanks to the cast and crew, the movie ranks as a classic in the genre.  

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