Tiff ’22: The Banshees of Inisherin

A canticle of attrition laced with verses of humour and pathos, The Banshees of Inisherin from writer-director Martin McDonagh is a perfect composition.

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star as Padraic and Colm. They’ve been drinking mates for years until in April of 1923, Colm decides he doesn’t want to be friends with Padraic anymore. He wants to work on his music, to leave his mark after he’s gone. Padraic doesn’t understand this at all (and he may be a bit dull), and despite the warnings of his compassionate sister, Siobhan (Kerry Condon) he keeps after Colm for an explanation, a reason.

Colm refuses and delivers a terrible ultimatum but that could be only the beginning of a feud that may not end until one of them is dead.

Brilliantly funny, gorgeously shot, and endlessly entertaining, The Banshees of Inisherin is magical, joyous in its darkness, and as satisfying as a freshly drawn Guinness.

Farrell delivers one of my favourite of his performances, and he puts it all there on screen playing Padraic with an honesty that makes him relatable and endearing, allowing the audience to follow him on his journey.

Gleeson is a powerhouse, as always, and there’s a sense of lonely menace that permeates his character. Colm wants to make something of himself, even if he has to pay the price for it, in flesh, or friendship.

Thoughtful, beautiful, lyrical, and magical The Banshees of Inisherin balances between a reel and a lament, it resonates through the chambers of the heart and sings.

The Banshees of Inisherin screens on Thursday the 15th at the Scotiabank Theatre, and Saturday the 17th at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

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