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What I’ve Watched This Week – The Banshees of Inisherin Review

The year is 1923, and Padraic is a donkey-loving farmer living on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland. Padraic believes that he is the second biggest idiot in the village, which might be up for debate, especially when he’s drunk and prone to acts of lunacy.

The Banshees of Inisherin reunites Farrel with Martin McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson (the trio worked together on In Bruges) and Barry Keoghan (who co-starred in The Killing of a Sacred Deer). Farrell is comfortable amongst friends here and makes the most of the opportunity to show the world just how talented an actor he is. For years he’s been compared to the likes of Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro and even Jack Nicholson, legends of film, but here he shows that he is a legend in his own right.

The film is instantly a classic, much like McDonagh’s last black comedy, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’; it’s a stylish take on obsession. But the focus here is less sentimental and more focused on its themes.

Padraic is horrified when fiddle-player Colm (Gleeson) announces that their friendship is over. Colm adores Motzart and wants to concentrate on composing. He’s got no room for a friend who’s ‘too nice’. Padraic doesn’t take the hint.

Increasingly desperate, Colm threatens to cut off the fingers from his fiddle-playing hand if Padraic doesn’t back off. But Padraic is stubborn, ignoring the advice of his sister, Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and young layabout Dominic (Keoghan); Padraic has a cunning plan. If Colm thinks Padraic is too nice, the solution is to become mean.

The film takes on some bleak and bloody twists that will surprise you, but once played out; it makes total sense. Dominic, Padraic and Colm are all tragic figures, and you’ll need tissues a lot. This funny and sad story is awe-inspiring and well-deserved for its recent Golden Globes success (8 nominations and three wins).

A slow burn that will surprise you at every turn, sad and darkly funny, The Banshees of Inisherin is available to stream now on Disney+.

Matt Jones

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