Much like Padraic (Colin Farrell) the central character in The Banshees of Inisherin our own Editor also likes to be in the pub by 2pm which has led to his own misguided attempt to open his own Irish cocktail bar which quickly went bankrupt within the week wholly due to his disastrous effort to introduce Irish cocktails serving up pints of Guinness with a slice of potato in it (‘You’re fired!’ – Ed). Padraic though is a simple and sympathetic character, a dairy man by trade who shares a cottage with his unmarried sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and a little pony he allows to plod around inside. By late lunchtime his work is done and he makes a daily call on his best friend Colm (Brendan Gleeson) and go to their local pub where they shoot the breeze on the imaginary windswept isle of Inisherin. Except today Colm calls an end to his having anything more to do with Padraic and without giving a reason is forthright in telling him so.
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Farrell with his heavy eyebrows are a picture of hurt innocence upset that the man he regards as his best friend won’t talk to him any longer. Drawn into this is Dominic (Barry Keoghan) the village idiot with designs on Padraic’s sister Siobhan who understandably wants nothing to do with him. And its Dominic’s violent cop father Peadar (Gary Lydon) who is on the periphery of the dispute between the two former friends only too keen to abuse his position when it comes to violence revelling in an offer he’s made to supervise a state execution on the mainland.
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Written and directed by Martin McDonagh he has reunited his two stars from In Bruges and this is as bleak and black in its comedy as that film, and indeed with all his films. Violence simmers away and bursts to the surface when Colm, normally reserved, angrily erupts with a threat telling him that from hereon that every time Padraic speaks to him he’ll cut off one of his own fingers until he has none. Something that would be a huge setback for Colm as he’s a fiddle player and in that respect it’s a shame that this is set in 1923 and not a contemporary drama where Padraic could perhaps pester Ed Sheeran.
Male friendships can just trundle on for years and it’s a brutal tactic that Colm uses as a cover for what would seem to be depression, even loneliness that men don’t like to talk about such things. Men struggle to cope so its little surprise that male suicide has been something of a taboo. The Banshees of Inisherin is not the misery memoir that this night sound and is fully of typically sparky lines from McDonagh and the cast are uniformly excellent in this tragi-comedy.
Watch The Banshees of Inisherin trailer here