‘The Banshees of Inisherin’: When friendship becomes a battleground

Screenshot 2022-11-26 at 5.15.35 PM 2
(Photo: IMDB)
No man is an island, as the poet wrote. Pádraic (Colin Farrell), one of the protagonists in “The Banshees of Inisherin”, certainly agrees. Suddenly deprived of the company of his best friend, Colm (Brendan Gleeson), he is in the grip of panic.اضافة اعلان

A highly colorful tale of “felt friendship”, Martin McDonagh’s new film revolves around two lifelong friends who find themselves on a remote Irish island at a delicate time in their relationship, when one of them (Colm) no longer wants the friendship.

The story takes place in 1923, while a civil war is raging across the country. For this return to his native country after an American stint, Martin McDonagh has brought together the stars of his classic “In Bruges” (Welcome to Bruges). Having played contract killers who go from mistrust to complicity, the two actors now play long-time companions whose friendship ends abruptly in the opening of the film that was screened at the Cairo International Film Festival in its 44th edition.

The Banshees of Inisherin is tinged with a dark and grating humor, which was the strength of other films by the British director. While the political ongoings may remain off-screen — we only see a few explosions in the distance — their reality weighs heavily on the already dull and depressive atmosphere of the film.

Following the breakdown of the duo’s friendship, Colm intends to devote himself to his violin and his music. Shocked, Pádriac enters into denial, making repeated attempts at reconciliation. In desperation, Colm formulates the following warning: Each time Pádraic speaks to him, he will cut off one of his own fingers.
the film illustrates with an admirable sense of symmetry the absurdity of the quarrel and, by extension, the war
The witnesses of this strange waltz of enmity are Siobhán (Kerry Condon), Pádraic’s sister, too educated to be happy in such a superstitious area; and Dominic (Barry Keoghan), the constable’s son. While dreaming of becoming Pádraic’s new friend, the naive Dominic also yearns for the love of Siobhán.

Pride and power
On a few chosen occasions, the fratricidal Irish Civil War of 1922-1923 — evoked but never shown — comes back to haunt the story, like a mirror of the opposition between Pádraic and Colm. Always in this logic of metaphor, the film illustrates with an admirable sense of symmetry the absurdity of the quarrel and, by extension, the war. The result turns out to be both terribly moving and furiously funny, for those who love the type of dark humor that is a constant with Martin McDonagh.

Between the lines, the director offers a scathing critique of masculinity, toxic when pride takes hold.

The character of the policeman (Gary Lydon), a despicable being who abuses his power — both as law enforcement and as father — is a clear example of this preoccupation of the filmmaker.

The context of the isolated hamlet governed by strict codes and superstitions takes on a symbolic value in this light: the character of Siobhán will never stop trying to extricate herself from its oppressiveness.

Against a background of washed-out and humid panoramas, nature is not so much human as it is decidedly male.

Of affliction and empathy
But what about the banshees? These creatures from Irish Celtic folklore come out at night, howling under the window of anyone who is doomed to death. According to village lore, only the person who is visited hears its chilling cry. The banshees are not malevolent; they do not cause death — their cries are full of empathy. And like the banshee, all the characters in the film howl silently, to themselves.

We can also see in the title an allusion to the theme of death, predominant in the film (and in the work of McDonagh).

At its core, “The Banshees of Inisherin” is a masterpiece of subtle emotion and interaction, against a visually stunning backdrop complimented by the acting and interpersonal dynamics of Farrell and Gleeson, two actors who obviously share a very real collusion, both on- and off-screen.

Read more Reviews
Jordan News