I had heard and read some good things about "The Banshees of Inisherin", written and directed by Martin McDonagh. Consequently, I visited "The Showroom" cinema to see it on Tuesday afternoon.
16 December 2022
Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in "The Banshees of Inisherin"
Described as a black tragicomedy, it has received almost universal acclaim from the critics but I was left feeling somewhat underwhelmed. There were certain aspects of it that impressed me - such as the island setting on Ireland's Atlantic coast and the absurd nature of the relationship between the two main characters - Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell) and Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) but at times it was downright silly. Did it belong to the real world or to some strange fantasy version?
One day Colm says he does not want to be friends with Pádraic any more. There's no particular reason for this. He just finds Pádraic boring. Colm is working on a fiddle composition called "The Banshees of Inisherin" - a title he has come up with simply because he likes the sound of it. He tells Pádraic that if he continues to bother him, he'll cut off his fingers one by one. Of course fingers are pretty useful for Irish fiddlers. Colm keeps his promise and ends up with a fingerless left hand.
It all left me feeling rather flat. I was unconvinced by the island community and how it all fitted together. What did people do and why was the pub so isolated - far from a village or any houses?
Perhaps the fault is with me and my expectations of depth and believability for it seems that "The Banshees of Inisherin" is destined to receive many prestigious awards. I went with an open mind, wanting to be thoroughly entertained but the truth of it is that I wasn't. Another of Martin McDonagh's films - "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" (2017) was quite brilliant in my view, striking a happier balance between reality and the absurd while providing emotional meat to chew upon.
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