TIFF ‘22: ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

Friendships are always an integral part of life; sometimes, we can grow out of certain ones. In the small town of Inisherin, two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them. People can change and want different things out of life. But the way Colm (Brendan Gleason) handles the situation with Pádraic (Colin Farrell) is a bit excessive when ending the relationship. It’s very hard to watch a friendship fall apart in front of your eyes because one person doesn’t have the same mindset anymore. There has always been room for growth within friendships, and sometimes, one friend just outgrows the other.

Writer-director Martin McDonagh breaks down Colm and Pádraic’s relationship throughout the film. They are two very different characters that seem like an unlikely pairing on Inisherin. The Banshees of Inisherin has Farrell at his most vulnerable and you will feel from instantly. Pádraic doesn’t understand why Colm is breaking their bond to complete a song. He can’t seem to wrap his head around the fact that he is such a distraction for Colm. Farrell’s performance is heartbreaking because Pádraic is genuinely such a good man and has always wanted the best for Colm. As Colm slowly starts to distance himself from his best friend, we can see how this causes Pádraic to spiral.

McDonagh crafted one of the funniest, most heartfelt and dark scripts of the year. Friendships come in all forms and they constantly change over the years. It also highlights a midlife crisis for Colm, who feels he needs to do something for which he will be remembered. He questions the purpose of his life and his accomplishments. In his solitude, Pádraic questions what it means to be a good person. It then becomes a battle of kindness versus purpose in life. The development of Pádraic’s character throughout this film is strong and he becomes a completely different person at the end of this experience. Sometimes things have to break in order for changes to be made in your own life.

The Banshees of Inisherin is a darkly comedic film about rediscovering yourself. McDonagh reconstructs Colm and Pádraic’s relationship; in the end, it becomes something different. What starts as an individual issue for Colm becomes personal when Pádraic insists on fixing the friendship. Both characters shift after a string of horrible situations and give new meaning to being connected to someone for life. Best friends know you through and through, they even know how to push your buttons. So to see the lengths that Colm goes to in order for Pádraic to understand his decision is intriguing. Even though Colm’s actions can be a bit dark and excessive, the chemistry between Farrell and Gleeson is incredible. Two powerhouse performances by two men who have known each other since In Bruges.

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