After watching Colin Farrell chew the scenery in THE NORTH WATER, I was so impressed I figured I owed him another movie, whatever next movie I chanced on next that he was in. That turned out to be THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (2022). I liked it, in particular due to the terrific heavy lifting by Farrell, the great Brendan Gleeson, and the rest of the stellar cast, though its themes were lost on me.
The movie has a simple premise, which is during the Irish Civil War in 1923, on a small fictional island off the coast of Ireland, fiddler Colm (Glesson) decides to end his friendship with his bestie and drinking buddy Padraic (Farrell). Colm is getting old and has decided not to waste his time anymore on anything except his music, which he feels will endure. This rejection and resulting conflict leads to extreme repercussions.
The movie is billed as a tragicomedy, though the comedy is in the conceit. Overall, the story is pondering, deep, and resting on the characters and the actors playing them far more than the plot. Most of the delights in this deep film are in the brooding country, quirky villagers, and in the terrific performances. The characters are wonderfully drawn, from Padraic’s voice-of-reason sister to the village clown and the town gossip. As things escalate to the end, I found I’d quite enjoyed the ride, though I’m not sure where I ended up. The theme appears to be the Irish Civil War, but I could be wrong, and in any case it was largely lost on me, though to the Irish of course it still resonates.
Overall, I’m happy to recommend THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, though it’s definitely not for everyone. As for me, I owe Farrell another movie.