Venice 79: The Banshees of Inisherin, madness and friendship. Review

Director Martin McDonagh returns to direct Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in a comedy-drama that pays homage to Beckett’s theater of the absurd and Irish folklore. Presented in competition at the Venice Film Festival, the film will hit theaters from February 2, 2023

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Green Ireland is colored with rage. Set between Inishmore Island and Achill Island, The Banshees of Inisherin – The Spirits of the Island it is a story of ordinary friendship that turns into a story of extraordinary madness. In competition at the 79th edition of the Venice Film Festival, the film highlights all the peculiarities of Martin McDonough’s filmography: from the overwhelming passion for the theater (he won three Laurence Olivier Awards, a Drama Desk Award and was nominated four times for the Tony Awards) to the predilection for unpredictable, borderline, devalued characters. Just think about 7 psychopaths oa Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri, awarded right on the Lido in 2017 with the Osella award for best screenplay. In short, a filmmaker who loves to immerse himself in the darkest and most perilous areas of the human psyche, but always with an effective dose of irony and detachment. And for this latest effort he has chosen to bring together Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, the killer couple protagonists of In Bruges – The Assassin’s Conscienceor, the work that in 2008 marked the debut of McDonagh behind the camera.

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Samuel Beckett lives and fights with us in The Banshees of Inisherin. But this time there is no endgame and no one is waiting for Godot. Instead, we witness the astonishment of pastor Patraic. A man of simple tastes who can’t get over the fact that his friend Colm doesn’t want to be friends with him anymore. Because in homage to the theater of the absurd, the real reasons for the end of this relationship will never be clarified. Because Martin McDonagh is interested in telling the effects and not so much the causes of events. Thus, between a strictly dark pint of beer and an afflicted traditional Irish song accompanied by the ordinance violin, the work stages an extravagant human comedy. In a Rossinian crescendo of hilarious and surreal dialogues, the plot slowly takes on the tones of tragedy. Violence peeps out and laughter is transfigured into tears.

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The Banshees of Inisherin, the trailer of the film with Colin Farrell

As always happens in films directed by McDonagh, the cast verges on perfection, the golden form of the art of acting. Starting with Colin Farrell. The actor puts his undeniable sex appeal into the closet to immerse himself body and soul in Patraic Súilleabháin, insipid and obtuse chard with a blatant vocation for banality. But the winning bet lies in not reducing him to a running speck, but to a human being who, however primary and elementary feelings he has, suffers as if there were no tomorrow for the sudden indifference of his friend. Brendan Gleeson’s performance is also an anthology. As Colm Doherty, who would like to put an end to the empty chatter of Blah blah blah” daily life, to the dictatorship of “this and that”, to compose a song to remember, before having to face the inevitable, Brendan turns out to be perfect. Like Barry Keoghan who plays the village madman, to whom, however, he manages to give a painful and intense veneer Certainly none of the characters of The Banshees of Inisherin leads a happy existence, and it is understandable why Siobhan (Kerry Condon), Patraic’s sister, wishes to escape from that desolate land. Except that, as the old saying goes: “Men make plans and the Gods laugh”. So, in the terrifying smile of an elderly Banshee, who looks like one of the witches of Macbeth, we read the prophecy that no one can escape their destiny. We are prisoners of ourselves and even if we reach out to help us we risk finding ourselves with amputated fingers.

Venice 79: The Banshees of Inisherin, madness and friendship. Review