Tragedy and comedy combine in one of the best films of 2022.
On the fictional remote island of Inisherin off the West Coast of Ireland at the end of the Irish civil war in 1923 the sounds of war can be heard by the small population.
Padriac (Colin Farrell) is a small scale cattle farmer, a simple, well-liked man who can chat on about nothing much. He lives with his sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and a delightful miniature donkey named Jennie who follows him everywhere like a dog, something his rather bookish sister does not like.
Colm (Brendon Gleeson) has been a life-long friend and drinking buddy. They have an established routine of chatting and drinking together in the local pub after work at 2pm – a close friendship that could only happen in a small isolated community where company is limited.
One day Padriac calls in to see if Colm is ready to go to the pub and he tells him that he doesn’t want his company anymore more because he is too dull. He says that is tired of his aimless chatting and wants to spend his remaining years being creative, writing music and playing his fiddle, doing things for which he will be remembered.
Padriac is devastated and won’t accept that the relationship is over. After his constant confrontations Colm finally tells him “I just don’t like you any more” and that he will cut off one of his fingers if he continues to try to be his friend. A finger is thrown at the door of the farmhouse.
Local elder Mrs McCormick (Sheila Flitton) warns Padriac that a death will soon come to the island. Siobhan, meantime, seems increasingly restless about her future on the island.
Colm writes a tune called “The Banchees of Inisherin” and it seems like the friendship might continue but this doesn’t work out (In case you are wondering – the definition of a banshee is “A female spirit in Gaelic folklore whose appearance and wailing warn that someone will die”).
The beauty of the island is captured by cinematographer Ben Davis, and the excellent musical score is by Carter Burwell. With a first rate cast this often hilarious dark comedy moves between tragedy, horror and heartbreak.
The film has been nominated for eight awards at the 80th Golden Globes, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. British playwright-director Martin McDonagh wrote the screenplay for the two stars of his earlier film In Bruges who have become friends over the years. He says that he couldn’t have made the film without them.
The film received a 15 minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival.
Now showing in select cinemas.
Watch the trailer…