“The Banshees of Inisherin,” a masterpiece of a film!



“Banshees of Inisherin” is one of the most cinematically impressive films I have seen of late.

“The Banshees of Inisherin” might very well be the best movie released last year. The award winning story writing, picturesque cinematography, and amazing acting makes this claim that much stronger. I cannot emphasize enough how excellent this movie really is. I would put it at the top of my current favorites.

“The Banshees of Inisherin” shows what life looks like for people living in the solitude of Inisherin, a fictional small island off the coast of Ireland. The movie is set during the end of the Irish Civil War in 1923. “The Banshees of Inisherin” shows a simple, yet subversive story about two friends, Colm and Patrick. The story starts when Colm decides to abruptly end their friendship to pursue things that are more permanent in the later years of their life, such as writing and playing music rather than continuing being friends with, as he puts it, “A limited man.” Patrick wants to keep the friendship because he doesn’t accept Colm’s reasoning. The story takes a turn when Colm decides to threaten Patrick by saying for every time Patrick bothers him, he will cut a finger off his fiddle playing hand.

A synopsis alone is not enough to give the movie all the credit that it deserves. However, there are 5 key things that the movie did wonderfully that warrant analysis and review.

The first key thing that stuck out in this movie was the amazing cinematography. From the haunting sweeping landscapes to the incredibly done sets that felt lived in. The best example of this would be the opening sequence. The movie starts with a magnificent sweeping shot of the island of Inisherin with folk music playing in the background. The camera pans to several empty plots of land with stone walls seemingly to symbolize the solitude and haunting ambience of the island.

There are parts of the movie where one can just sit back and look at the amazing filming locations. Although Inisherin is not a real place, the locations they shot the movie in were real places. Almost no sets were used, most of the locations were real homes, pubs, and beaches.

This movie won three Golden Globes, one for best Musical/Comedy, another for best screenplay and a final award for best acting in the Musical/Comedy category. Colin Farrell does a fantastic job with his script, and shows the many subtleties behind his award winning performance. When watching the film one becomes immersed in this world that was being shown. All of the cast’s characters feel very real and believable.

A great example of Farrell’s acting prowess is how he showed his character’s gradual change from a kind hearted everyman to a spiteful, insecure and vengeful character. This change is subtle and is impossible to put into a review; one truly needs to watch the film in order to understand this character development

Another thing that this movie gets perfect is symbolism. I can wholeheartedly say that if you watch this movie intently and give it your full undivided attention you will be surprised by the breadth of this movie’s attention to detail. The best example of this is how Patrick has a pet miniature donkey that lives on his property. The donkey is shown many times just wanting attention as well as not wanting to be alone. Both Patrick and the donkey share a similar fear. Aside from the loneliness that the donkey portrays, it is also the donkeys stubbornness and innocence that can be associated with Patrick. When the donkey dies from trying to eat one of Colm’s severed fingers, all of those qualities in Patrick’s life die as well. His innocence, his desire for company, and his stubbornness to keep Colm as a friend.

A line that was said in the film that many look over is when Colm is in a confession booth with a priest and says “I killed a miniature donkey today, it was an accident,” to which the priest responds with, “Do you think god cares about a miniature donkey?!” in a dismissive tone. Colm then responds with, “I don’t, and that is where I think he has gone wrong.” This scene broken down means that what Colm is accusing God of is not caring about kindness and the context behind situations beyond the sin itself and is only one example of this movies incredible writing.

Something that was truly impressive was how well written the story was. Had this story been given to a lesser director or writer, this movie would have become something that resembles a playground argument. However, with Martin McDonagh writing and directing the story you get a masterpiece that I still can’t help but just to puzzle over.

To anyone who was slightly intrigued by this review, I implore to find time to watch this masterpiece. However, fair warning, you must suspend your disbelief for two scenes in the film and the rest is a masterpiece. Go find this movie and watch it on the biggest screen you can find.