The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh, 2022) wr. Martin McDonagh, dp Ben Davis; Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan
Words fail me.
Martin McDonagh’s new film is a macabre black comedy of toxic male pride and wounded male feelings, a shaggy-dog story of wretchedness and a dance of death between aggression and self-harm, set on an imaginary island called Inisherin off the Irish coast. ... It’s as if Vladimir turned to Estragon in the middle of Beckett’s play and declared that whether or not Godot turns up, they are now mortal enemies. As a study of male loneliness and swallowed anger it is weirdly compelling and often very funny. The Guardian.
McDonagh isn't interested in making this easy. Sometimes, a break-up isn't the result of histrionics and dramatics, but a sad and sudden end where no one is at fault. McDonagh, Farrell and Gleeson only ask us to sit and watch and feel the waters swirl as they try to navigate this sorry situation with some kind of grace. Switch.
On Rotten Tomatoes, 97% of 262 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.7/10. The website's consensus reads, "Featuring some of Martin McDonagh's finest work and a pair of outstanding lead performances, The Banshees of Inisherin is a finely crafted feel-bad treat." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 87 out of 100, based on 61 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian gave the film four out of five stars writing that "as a study of male loneliness and swallowed anger it is weirdly compelling and often very funny." Todd McCarthy from Deadline Hollywood wrote that the film was "a simple and diabolical tale of a friendship's end shot through with bristling humor and sudden moments of startling violence", he also praised Ben Davis' cinematography and Carter Burwell's score. David Ehrlich from IndieWire rated it B+, writing that "its constant undercurrent of humor affords the story's most pressing questions an appropriately ridiculous context, one that speaks to the absurdities of all existence". He also called it McDonagh's best work since In Bruges.
Matthew Creith from Screen Rant noted the film's "demonstration of the metaphorical aspects of civil disobedience and internal protest between a set of individuals is remarkably hilarious." A reviewer in the New York Times wrote "The film was rapturously received here in Venice, earning a lengthy standing ovation and rave reviews". In a review for Variety, Guy Lodge wrote "What begins as a doleful, anecdotal narrative becomes something closer to mythic in its rage and resonance: McDonagh has long fixated on the most visceral, vengeful extremes of human behavior, but never has he formed something this sorely heartbroken from that fascination."
A review in The Hollywood Reporter called the film "a ruminative ensemble piece that expertly balances the tragicomic with the macabre, inhabiting territory adjacent to McDonagh's stage work yet also sweepingly cinematic."
Writing in the Boston Globe, Mark Feeney gave an unenthusiastic review, describing it as "a short story trying to be a novel" and calling the metaphor for the Irish Civil War "awfully flat-footed".
Jordan, Eamonn 2012, 'The Banshees of Inisherin: competing concepts of justice wage war in Martin McDonagh’s Irish tragicomedy', The Conversation, 11 January.
Garry Gillard | New: 14 December, 2022 | Now: 13 January, 2023