Comedy Drama

A Feud to End All Feuds: A TIFF Review of ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’

September 20, 2022Ben MK

With 2005's In Bruges, writer-director Martin McDonagh gave moviegoers one of the wittiest dark comedies in recent memory, thanks mainly to the inspired on-screen pairing of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Fast forward 17 years, and McDonagh, Farrell and Gleeson are teaming up once again — and in The Banshees of Inisherin, they're showing audiences what can happen when a friendship goes sour, in this hilarious tale of two former pals embroiled in a bitter and pointless feud.

Set in 1923 on a small island off the coast of Ireland, the film follows Pádraic (Farrell) and Colm (Gleeson), two former best friends who quickly become the worst of enemies, after Colm announces out of the blue one day that he's no longer fond of Pádraic. It's an abrupt declaration that catches Pádraic by surprise, seeing as how just the other day the two men were chatting it up at the local pub. However, when he presses Colm to give him a reason for his sudden change of heart, Pádraic is met with only cryptic and befuddling responses. What neither Pádraic, his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon), nor the village idiot Dominic (Barry Keoghan), can fathom is just how deadly serious Colm is about sticking to his word. And when tensions between the once chummy pair escalate to the point where actual blood started being spilled, it sets into motion a series of increasingly incredulous episodes — events that threaten to end even worse than the Irish Civil War that rages just beyond the horizon.

For anyone who's ever been on the receiving end of a bad breakup, the result is a relatable — if not an over-exaggerated and patently comical — look at relationships, and how dissatisfying, disappointing and downright infuriating it can be not to get the proper closure when they end. That said, you don't have to necessarily empathize to fully appreciate what McDonagh has crafted here. For while The Banshees of Inisherin does work best on that level, just seeing Farrell and Gleeson together again proves to be fecking good fun.

The Banshees of Inisherin screens under the Special Presentations programme at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 54 min.

You May Also Like