Banshees of Inisherin
Maybe this is the new me!
A good portion of deciding if you liked a movie is knowing what you expected going in. It is a bit like being hungry. You crave sustenance at the basest of levels, sure, but given your circumstances here at the peak of human civilization, you can choose more than simply getting whatever “protein” is available, as the survivalists like to say on all of the Discovery+ shows. You can choose a steak, a cheesessteak, some italian beef, maybe some sausage, maybe some wagyu, maybe some brisket. There are a bunch of choices at your fingertips in various forms.
We are at peak visual entertainment, folks, and you can watch terrible, derivitive, algorithm-enhanced Netflix dreck like Kaleidoscope1 but enjoy the flashy graphics, and nice pictures or you can watch something like the Banshees of Inisherin, a quiet piece of film that means you need to pay attention and look for meaning. The movie does not punch you in the face. It is okay if you like to be punched in the face, or are like, one of those people who like to read their movies.
Upon first pass, I got a sense that the film was a little bit of a message about fighting over petty things while real life-and-death confict are raging just outside of our realities. It also seemed to be saying that the petty, small conflicts are just as real as those other ones. It also seemed to be saying that all conflicts, big and small, look the same and are just as ridiculous to those not caught up in them, even if the participants have real grievances about them.
It is also nice to look at, well-acted, and “weird”, as my buddy put it. I am not super familiar with period Ireland and cannot tell you how much of that weirdness was just Irishness or period, or whathaveyou.
I can tell you it is written and directed by Martin McDonagh. He put out the also-good In Bruges (also sneaky funny and sad in the same way), Seven Psychopaths (hilarious, and genre-bending), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (fine).
For me, when I chose this movie, I was looking for something good, but not a series. We had just finished Severence and were looking for the next thing on our holiday entertainment binge. I heard this was good, and had seen the trailer. Colin Ferrell, who plays Pádraic Súilleabháin, has been in a bunch of good stuff recently (Kiling of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster) and same with Barry Keoghan (Killing of a Sacred Deer, Dunkirk, Chernobyl). There is the background.
This movie is quiet, hilarous, and sad. It makes you think about your relationships, and what is required of one another in that partnership and what the consequences of a slight change in the balance. Beyond the main plot, a few other people are in relationships and the consequences of this main conflict have reprocussions on the others. I have at varoius times felt like each of these characters, either bored of stupidity, or aghast at why someone would be so cold, or just wondering why a couple of stupid people are being stupid. “You are all so boring!” says one character, and they are right in the grand scheme of things. It all matters and yet it doesn’t. Maybe it all matters because it doesn’t.
If you have seen One Crew over the Crewcoo’s Morty from Rick and Morty: Season 4, Episode 3 – you can see the worst of these genre tics. I do not hate the genre like Dan Harmon does, as there are good ones (I will write about one coming up). There is also a lot of overacting, with weak characters and a distended plot. ↩