The Banshees of Inisherin Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Review of the film

Recently, a new film by Irish director Martin McDonough premiered on digital services. Before that, the film was presented at the Venice Film Festival, where it received high praise from the public. In the review below, we consider why this story was successful and what it speaks to the viewer.

“The Banshees of Inisherin” / The Banshees of Inisherin

Tragicomedy genre
Directed by Martin McDonough
Starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan, Gary Lydon
Premier digital services
Release year 2022
IMDb site

Inisherin Island, Ireland. According to the main character Padraik’s calendar, April 1923 began. Padraic usually heads to his best mate Colm Doherty’s after lunch to talk about life over a pint of dark beer in the local bar. It was the same on this seemingly unremarkable day, but Colm strangely began to ignore his old friend and refuse to speak to him.

Review of the movie

When the men do meet in the pub, Colm declares that he no longer wants to deal with Padraic and promises to cut off his fingers if he does not stop harassing him. To the question “what is the reason?” Colm replies that he does not want to spend money and wants to devote himself to playing the violin. So the name for the new musical work is already ready – “Banshee Inisheryna”. Thus, a confused Padraic must somehow come to terms with the fact that his friendship with Colm has come to an end.

Apparently, you need to be a playwright on the level of Martin McDonagh to turn such a frankly childish plot into a tragicomedy that is as absurd as it is powerful. Until a certain time, what is not dialogue here is wit, which gives a reason to laugh, although the characters mostly have conversations about something sad or seemingly serious.

MacDonagh once wrote the Aran Islands trilogy, and the story on Inishira was conceived as the final play. But the work was not destined to see the world, because the author himself rejected the material. For the film, he apparently wrote a separate script, and Inishir turned into the fictional Inisherin. However, in the local film space, some theatricality is still felt.

Review of the movie

But at the same time, “Banshee Inisheryna” looks very cinematic. Ben Davies’s camera does not skimp on the picturesque Irish landscapes, and when the attention needs to be focused on some acting emotions, it allows the viewer to fully enjoy them. Perhaps no other actor in the world has been nominated for a Golden Globe for such an outstanding eyebrow performance as Colin Farrell’s. By the way, the film has as many as 8 nominations for this award, in particular, in the category “Best film – comedy or musical”.

It was nice to see the beautiful Farrell-Gleeson duet in the frame after their participation in McDonagh’s full-length debut “Lie Down in Bruges”. Here, the director, however, abandons the criminal motives of the Gairich gang and offers a completely different narrative. “Banshee” is more easily confused with “Calvary”, which was staged by Martin’s older brother, John Michael McDonough, than with any of the three previous works of the famous Irishman.

While somewhere there, in the background, from time to time the sounds of explosions from cannons rumble, a battle of its own is unfolding on Inisherin. It can be compared to the Irish Civil War. Each side will have its own tactics, which, as you know, are of great importance in hostilities. But the local heroes, in fact, are angry at what is happening on the mainland. And the fewer fingers remain on Brendan Gleason’s hand, the more the conflict between former friends will intensify.

Review of the movie

Since the events are unfolding in a godforsaken place, where there is nothing to do except drink and endlessly contemplate the pacified majesty of the Atlantic Ocean, it will be extremely difficult for Farrell’s character to come to terms with the new state of affairs. He is a simple shepherd, an ordinary good-natured peasant who does not burden himself with questions about the eternal. But Colm, on the contrary, reflects and tries to leave something behind, because he understands that a significant part of life is already behind him.

That is, “Banshee” turns out to be not only a witty black comedy, but also a strong drama about friendship, loneliness, doom, as well as about the sacrifices an artist must make for his life’s work. The quality of the unhurried story offered by McDonagh is evident in the fact that the author managed to harmoniously combine comedy and drama. However, in the second half, the film loses a little of its comedic fervor and focuses on drama.

Excellent acting performances also work for the overall result. And if everything is clear with Farrell and Gleeson, they are masters, then it is worth mentioning the excellent role of Barry Keogan. The young actor plays a village fool and once again proves his high professionalism. In addition, after the beautiful “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” by Yorgos Lanthimos, he is not used to interacting in the frame with Colin Farrell.

Review of the movie

In general, “Inisherin’s Banshees” is an endlessly fun and at the same time sad movie. It is a thoughtful existential drama that shows a certain side of the human essence in all its beauty. Or, better, ugliness. And there is also a terrible old woman, which is clearly associated with those mythical banshees, inspires terror in those around her and portends imminent death. However, she might as well not crucify herself, because everyone dies sooner or later, right?

Pros: excellent production and script, outstanding acting, competent combination of comedy and drama, exciting story that is based on a small plot but develops interestingly, good musical accompaniment, beautiful Irish landscapes Cons: the story lacked the emotionality that could to give the viewer a good shake and take them out of their comfort zone. Everything happens stably quietly, calmly, without haste. Sometimes this does not benefit the story Conclusions:

“Inisherin’s Banshees” can hardly be called an indisputable masterpiece for all time. But this is a vivid example of a wonderful drama on paper and its luxurious embodiment on the screen

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