In 2022, there were two movies I was excited for above any other – The Batman and you guessed it, The Banshees of Inisherin. This excitement came down to one simple fact – the directors. Both Matt Reeves and Martin McDonagh are two of my favourite filmmakers in the industry. In particular, Martin McDonagh. He is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious and unique writers in the world. Every film he has made has hit me on a very profound level and changed how I view cinema and writing. So, when I saw the trailer for Banshees, I was surprised. It seemed very different from his previous work and style but nevertheless I was extremely excited.
The Banshees of Inisherin is set on a remote Island off the coast of Ireland. It is about two friends – Padraic and Colm – whose friendship falls apart and chaos ensues. The film is written and directed by Martin McDonagh and features performances by Colin Farrel, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon.
When you hear the plot of Banshees, you wouldn’t expect this film to be funny. But as usual, Martin McDonagh weaves in his dark humour effortlessly. The Banshees of Insherin is the funniest film of 2022 and perhaps one of the funniest movies of the last 5 years. Colin Farrel and Barry Keoghan have incredible line deliveries and comic timing that elevates the humour of this script completely. And you cannot talk about comic timing without mentioning Pat Short and Jon Kenny. Every time we visit the bar, these two make the scene hilarious simply through their mannerisms.
What really surprised me about the Banshees of Inisherin was how beautiful it was. In particular, the colours. The way the greens of the rolling hills popped against the coastline was incredible. Almost every frame is shot with this rough ocean in the background, further reminding us how desolate Insherin really is. Ben Davis (the DOP) does an amazing job at keeping the shots interesting with a very simple backdrop.
I truly believe the core cast of this film all deserve Oscars. Every single one of them creates these compelx and layered characters in a very stripped back script (an excellent decision by Martin McDonagh). Even with completely opposing perspectives, you somehow side with both our protagonists. As well as simply being funny, the subtleties of their performances reveal a loneliness and sadness buried so deep it is hard to see. Simply put, with a different cast, this movie would not work.
Before I move on, I must talk about Barry Keoghan. In the Banshees of Inesherin, Barry gives one of my favourite performances I have ever seen. In every scene of this film, he evokes a new emotion among the audience. Whether it’s comedy, heartbreak, despair, loneliness – Barry does it all. I have never seen such contrasting emotions in such a short amount of time and truly believe no one else deserves the Oscar as much as him.
One of the most incredible parts of the Banshees of Inisherin is the lasting effect upon the audience (or maybe it’s just me). As you are watching the film, it’s a funny enjoyable ride. Then it gets sad and then it gets really depressing. And after this, it stays in your head. The cloud of loneliness, regret and sorrow that surrounds this film kept coming back to me for the following days. I seemed to constantly be worrying about these fictional characters in a way few films have ever done. While it sounds cliché, it honestly felt like I was on that desolate Island with those characters. For anyone reading this who hasn’t seen the movie, don’t judge the Banshees of Inisherin upon the first watch. Wait a couple days and then really think about how this movie made you feel.