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  • Colin Fraser

THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN

FOUR AND A HALF STARS Paddy refuses to accept that his best friend has just dumped him.

COMEDY DRAMA IRELAND English #BANSHEESOFINISHERIN

Starring Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell


Paddy has just been dumped by his best friend Colm for reasons unknown. But since the pair had been fast friends for as long as anyone can remember, he’s unwilling to take no for an answer and does his best to regain the friendship. Thus starts this stunning comedy-drama set on a remote Irish island in the 1920s. It’s the sort of quiet, sparsely populated place where you don’t let go of friendships easily since there are no new ones to be had. But Colm has had enough. As he explains to the puppyish Paddy, he simply doesn’t like him anymore. In fact, he continues to explain patiently, if Paddy doesn’t leave him alone, he, Colm, will cut off a finger for every social infringement to prove his point.


THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN reunites Colin Farrell and Brendon Gleeson with writer/director Martin McDonagh, the team behind IN BRUGES. Although the laughs here are much less abrasive they're no less memorable and the script presents Farrell and Gleeson an opportunity to indulge their more nuanced selves. The results are equally outstanding. The story also presents McDonagh an opportunity to examine the Irish ‘troubles’ as the effects of war on the mainland seep into the island community. More directly it’s a sharp commentary on how once tight communities are easily torn apart for irreconcilable differences no one fully understands.


But at the heart of this exceptional yarn is the emotional roiling between two men and a village affected by their falling out. McDonagh’s considerable talent as a story teller shines in his capacity to turn emotion on a dime; the narrative shape-shifting from wry laughter through some deeply poignant scenes and truly ghastly moments. It’s funny, melancholic, horrific and compassionate. Above all, it’s a deeply felt film by all concerned, and that includes us.


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