Last year, Martin McDonagh returned to team up with his frequent collaborator Colin Farrell in their magnum opus, The Banshees of Inisherin. Previously working together on the cult classics In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, the two reunite with another black comedy that reminds us of the light in every darkness, and the power of true friendship.
There is a consistent style that is guaranteed when watching a film by McDonagh. You’ll experience both some of the saddest or darkest scenes you have ever seen, and some of the funniest that will keep you laughing for days. What’s so incredible is that he is able to blend both of those qualities almost perfectly. Like his previous works, The Banshees of Inisherin features a very somber and melancholic atmosphere. At the same time, however, everything about the film feels very gritty and raw, and the events that lead up to the final moments truly support that case.
In this film, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson’s chemistry from In Bruges returns in a quiet, remote island off the coast of Ireland, set during the Irish Civil War. To them, the most excitement they can find is drinking and enjoying the company of their animals. Brendan Gleeson’s character, Colm, has realized how unsatisfying of a life he has been leading. He doesn’t want to just fade away — he wants to make something of himself and be remembered. One day, he decides to abruptly cut ties with his best friend, Pádraic, played by Farrell.
Naturally, Pádriac is hurt. Because of their natural chemistry, we are able to tell that these are lifelong friends that have been there for each other through thick and thin. Pádriac struggles to accept this, so he repeatedly tries to talk to him, making an effort to save their friendship. However, Colm takes drastic measures to make his former friend stay away from him.
Losing a friend, because of any circumstance, is one of the hardest things someone can go through. It can feel like a personal part of your life has been taken from you. I believe that one thing that is common amongst people is that we never really appreciate something until we lose it. Sometimes we take a lot of things for granted. Other times, things just happen, and we hate it. We especially hate it because we can’t do anything about it. And it will feel like it is impossible to move forward.
Like I said, the serene atmosphere helps the cold melancholy in this film. Everything feels very personal and authentic, so much so that the audience can feel like they are there with the characters. The cinematography by Ben Davis feels like its very own character. This is also helped by Carter Burwell’s terrific score. To me, that’s one of the key factors in what makes a great movie: that we can successfully feel what the director intends, because we have become attached to the characters and what happens to them. And if something similar were to ever happen to us in real life, sometimes watching a film like this could be the best form of therapy.
Augie Brightman is a Freshman Film, Photography and Visual Art major who would like to see Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in many more movies together. They can be reached at [email protected].