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 on February 2, 2023

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Green Ireland is colored with anger. 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 (it won three Laurence Olivier Awards, a Drama Desk Award and was four times nominated for the Tony Awards) for his predilection for unpredictable, borderline, devalued characters. Just think of 7 psychopaths oa Three posters in Ebbing, Missouri, awarded 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 dangerous areas of the human psyche, but always with an effective dose of irony and detachment. And for this last effort he has chosen to reunite Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, the couple of killers protagonists of In Bruges – The assassin’s conscienceor, the work that in 2008 marked McDonagh’s debut behind the camera.

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Venice 79, today The Banshees of Inisherin. Waiting for Styles. DIRECT

Samuel Beckett lives and fights with us in The Banshees of Inisherin. But this time there is no end game and no one is waiting for Godot. Instead, we witness the astonishment of Pastor Patraic. A man of simple tastes who cannot find a reason why his friend Colm no longer wants to know that he is his friend. 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 the events. Thus, between a strictly dark pint of beer and a distressed traditional Irish song accompanied by the standard violin, the opera 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 turns into tears.

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

As is always the case in McDonagh-directed films, the cast borders on perfection, the golden form of the art of acting. Starting with Colin Farrell. The actor puts his undeniable sex appeal in the closet to immerse himself body and soul in Patraic Súilleabháin, bland and dull chard with a blatant vocation for banality. But the winning bet lies in not reducing him to a cursory speck, but to a human being who, although he has primary and elementary feelings, suffers as if there was no tomorrow for the sudden indifference of his friend. Brendan Gleeson’s performance is also an anthology. In the role of Colm Doherty, who would like to put an end to the empty chatter of the Bla bla bla“daily, to the dictatorship” of more and less “, to compose a song to remember, before having to face the inevitable, Brendan is perfect. Like Barry Keoghan who plays the village madman, to whom he manages to give a painful and intense patina Certainly none of the characters of The Banshees of Inisherin leads a happy existence, and it is understood why Siobhan (Kerry Condon), Patraic’s sister, wishes to escape from that wasteland. Except that, as the old adage goes: “Men make plans and 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 fate. We are prisoners of ourselves and even if we extend our hand to help we risk finding ourselves with amputated fingers.

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