Alex Reviews "The Banshees of Inisherin"
Be kind, and when you cannot be kind be considerate because you never know how much your behavior can affect the welfare of others. This is the lesson learned from the themes of “The Banshees of Inisherin” where former friends who are no longer that with only one of them knowing it was coming and goes to the point where some things cannot be fixed with an apology.
Allow me to get the prognosticating out the way up front: there is no doubt in my mind that this film is going to be nominated for quite a few awards and win at least a few of them. This is one of the best acted movies I have ever seen (which is necessary for a story that needs no modern trappings like explosions or chases), keeping me at the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next on this journey that is contained within a tiny island community.
Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) is no stranger to award nominations since he has been nominated twice for Best Original Screenplay, and I believe that the third time could be the charm for his first victory. The dialogue pops, the narrative drives on a massive yet gliding pace like a cruise ship. While most films like this tend to exist as mere snapshots on its timeline, even the quiet speaks volumes here while evolving the story to match the characters development. It is amazing when a writer (who also directs in this case) can make even the voids hit as hard as any lines or set pieces could. The level of subtle brilliance to this script cannot be overstated from the underlying character traits to the parallels of it being set so near to the Irish Civil War.
No matter how good the direction or script may be, a cast will still need to deliver to make a film great, and “The Banshees of Inisherin” excels on that front as well. The acting not only matches the quality of the material, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see nominations coming from the almost entirely Irish cast. Only one actor isn’t and that might be a fun middle finger to the British based on that character’s story. Kerry Condon (Better Call Saul) is the perfect moral compass as the main character’s sister, Siobhan: smart and kind, tough yet caring in a way that made me unable to feel anything but love for her. She wants the best while knowing she is beyond their little village, even if she would never say that. Barry Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) provides exactly the baseline needed for the “average guy” of the village. Even though he’s slow and unruly, it is never mean-spirited, while Brendan Gleeson (The Tragedy of Macbeth) continues to be one of the best performers on the planet hitting his impossible target for his role as both incredibly likeable and obliviously cruel while smart enough to know better on a level that is almost frightening to witness. Colin Farrell (The Gentlemen) continues to come into his own as no longer just a name on a one-sheet but into someone who can give an earth-shatteringly amazing performance on a level that I feel he should get every Best Actor award (and it isn’t close). The range, delivery, poster, gait, and cadence as the story progresses should be the kind of thing that achieves legendary status.
While I can understand “The Banshees of Inisherin” could be considered a tough watch for some, whether it be the lack of familiarity with heavy Erin accents, Gaelic names, and the heaviest of emotions, it is one of the best made films I have ever seen. It should be among many “Best of” lists for 2022 and it absolutely deserves every single piece of recognition it is given.