The Banshees of Inisherin Review



  • Run Time: 1 hour 54 minutes
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • Director: Martin McDonagh
  • Where to Watch: In Theaters


During the Irish Civil War of early 1920s, a small town on the island of Inisherin is the battleground of a smaller conflict. Padraic and Colm have been friends for as long as everybody can remember. But when Colm suddenly stops speaking to Padraic, it leaves Padraic questioning everything. His sister, Siobhan, reassures him that it’s Colm who is at fault but that Padraic shouldn’t antagonize him. While kindness is one of his strong suits, patience is not and soon Padraic and Colm are at war with one another. Colm is fighting for peace and quiet while Padraic fights for companionship.

The conflict between Colm and Podraic is one that deliberately tugs at the heart strings. It makes the audience feel bad for Podraic but only up until he reveals his obsessive nature and Colm’s despair surrounding his mortality. This conflict helps the story progress nicely for most of the near two hour run time. When it’s not focused on the main story, the smaller arcs for Kerry Condon’s Siobhan and Barry Keoghan’s Dominic are given a chance to breathe. Siobhan’s struggle to escape Inisherin and Dominic’s tragic hopelessness are both intriguing enough to add more flavor to the fictional island life.

Martin McDonagh directs this darkly humorous and incredibly intimate movie. I’ve not seen his other work, but it’s been on my watchlist for a long time. In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths, and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri make up the rest of his directorial filmography. McDonagh does have a penchant for casting Farrell and Gleeson in his movies and does so again with Banshees. The backdrop of this fictional island off the coast of Ireland is so drab and dull that it really focuses the story on the conflict between the two main characters. There’s no shortage of beauty, but it really drives the audience’s attention to the characters without many distractions.

Leading the show is the duo of Collin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. They play together very nicely, with Farrell hamming it up as “the nice guy” Padraic. Gleeson is cold and sometimes cruel in his portrayal of Colm. They bicker and fight like an old married couple. It kind of reminds me of my friend Wyatt. We argue about dumb shit all the time and annoy the hell out of each other, but it’s all in good fun. That’s the difference between us and the Irish folk. Colm is so careless in his ways and Padraic just can’t take no for an answer and the two ultimately push each other to the edge.

Supporting Farrell and Gleeson is the delightful pairing of Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan. Condon looks completely different from her role in Better Call Saul and I was very pleased with her performance. She didn’t put up with anything and I loved her arc. Absolutely killed it. Keoghan played the village dullard, Dominic, who was dealt a shite hand. He recognizes that he causes trouble, but does it anyway because it’s all he knows. They were both very pleasant to watch on screen and ate up the interactions lead by Farrell. The whole casting department did a magnificent job putting these four together on screen.

I thoroughly enjoyed Banshees of Inisherin. The story was simple and putting it up against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War made me draw parallels to the world I grew up in and live in today. Being born in 1997 means that I grew up with a lot of fear mongering on tv and online. It’s easy to push it aside and ignore it when it’s around you 24/7 and that’s what the main characters here do. The story shows the Irish Civil War as something they can see and hear, but ultimately ignore. They feel like their bullshit still matters and that this conflict between Podraic and Colm is really important. It reminded me that my own BS still matters and I appreciate that.

Dylan M.
Dylan M.

Dylan created Movies Not Films as a fun project to stay occupied during the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. He started with a simple movie diary on a spreadsheet and eventually transformed it into with a robust catalog of reviews, suggestions, and ranking lists. Currently living with his now-fiancé and two dogs, Dylan has a full-time career but still makes time to watch all the latest movies and most of the new TV shows.

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