In Ireland circa 1923, there was a civil war raging. Though The Banshees of Inisheerin, the latest film from writer/director Martin McDonaugh, is set in Ireland in 1923, it is not focused on the Irish Civil War. Sure, occasionally some bombs go off in the background and the town chatters of the war nearing its end, but the film itself is focused instead on a different kind of civil war brewing on a small island just off the mainland, when one man, played by Brendan Gleeson, suddenly decides he is done being friends with his drinking buddy Padraic, played by Colin Farrell.
Initially, Padraic wonders if he did something or said something regrettable while drunk, but his old buddy assures him it’s nothing like that; he insists he’s simply grown tired of Padraic. Then, things really spin out of control.
McDonaugh, who is most known for his work writing and directing Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, as well as In Bruges, which also stars Gleeson and Farrell, uses his script for “Banshees” to explore the complexities of male friendship and ego. What would you do or say if your friend suddenly wanted nothing to do with you? Conversely, how far would you go to cut off a friendship you feel is no longer serving you?
Bitingly funny but also genuinely sad, The Banshees of Inisheerin absolutely exceeded my expectations. With a lazer-sharp script fully consumed by these new frenemies and all of their tumultuous interactions, McDonaugh manages to explore the ties that bind us together, and the forces that pull us apart.
The Banshees of Inisheerin is now playing.
I’m Evan Rook.