By Marc Peoples
The second movie on the Oscar for Best Picture list: The Banshee of Inisherin is a dark tragicomedy that takes place on a fictional Irish Island during the Irish Civil War.
The story is about two men who find themselves in a deadlock when one abruptly ends their friendship with alarming consequences for both of them. The film is written and directed by Martin McDonagh and stars Colin Farrell and Brendon Gleeson with Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan in supporting roles.
If the name Martin McDonagh rings a bell, you might be familiar with his previous work. He’s already been nominated for a total of seven Academy Awards and six Golden Globes. His last film was the critically acclaimed Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which earned him Golden Globes for Best Screenplay and Best Picture.
The portrayal of the characters performed terrifically well. Colin Farrell plays Padraic Suilleabhain, a nice guy who gets along with almost everyone on the island including the animals and just wants to know why his best friend ended their relationship. Brendan Gleeson does a stellar job as always as Colm Doherty who has come to grips with his own mortality and wants to spend the remainder of his life composing music and be remembered for the things he did.
I also want to acknowledge the fantastic Kerry Condon who plays Padraic’s sister Siobhan, who provides Padraic love, warmth, and food, but is also experiencing loneliness. Barry Keoghan has been building quite a resume since his roles in 2017’s The Killing of the Sacred Deer and Dunkirk. Here, he plays Dominic, a friend of Padraic and doesn’t make good company for being the town idiot, but there’s more to his character.
The film was shot beautifully by cinematographer Ben Davis. It’s hard to ignore the fancy scenery of the island’s landscapes. Some shots look like they were inspired by paintings and describes the feeling of our characters. The feeling of melancholy. It does feel like they’re isolated from the larger world. Davis did say that he spent a lot of time on Inishmore (a real island on the west coast of Ireland) and wanted to bring that melancholic feeling to the film.
The major standout in the film is the dialogue. It shows that McDonagh was a playwright before he became a filmmaker. His script is written so well that the way the characters speak to one another is so funny you might forget that the film is also a drama. Within the first thirty minutes, you’ll find yourself chuckling.
Overall, this is a great film. It may not be for everyone as it does feel slow and there are no high stakes. This is a breakup story between two best friends. What carries it is the dialogue, acting, and beautiful scenery. It already has won three golden globes including Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Colin Farrell), and Best Picture, and is nominated for Nine Academy Awards including Best Picture. McDonagh has already been nominated twice for Best Screenplay for Three Billboards and In Bruges, which is another film starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, so a third time might be the charm for him. If so, it’s well deserved.
Marc Peoples is a writer, film, and game enthusiast with a full range of electronic or digital games experience, who lives on the west coast in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated with honors from the Los Angeles Film School (LAFS), where he studied film and screenwriting. www.linkedin.com, www.instagram.com
Photo Credit 1) disneyplus.com 2) decider.com 3) digitaltrends.com
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