The Banshee of Inisherina is one of the most popular films of this year and probably the Oscars are waiting for it, because for 2022 it is perhaps the most badass film in every sense.
This film is a real parable, containing some biblical motifs, a touch of philosophy, it raises many complex topics and problems. That is why it is so difficult to perceive at first viewing.
Such a “cocktail”, mixed with the humor of the absurd, distinguishes all the work of director Martin McDonagh, in his plays he talks about the Irish, he knows the Irish, laughs at them, in a word: he loves the Irish, because he himself has such roots. Venetian Golden Lions director Martin McDonagh won an Oscar for his first short film and has a Golden Globe.
Acting is the height of skill, you want to watch them all the time and be in their company. The picture, installation and work of the operator is mesmerizing. The picture quality is another reason to love this movie.
What is “The Banshees of Inisherin” about?
First of all, this is a film about a great male friendship and a great death duel. The duel is not a knight’s duel for the honor of a lady, and not a hussar’s duel for a debt of cards, but a duel of temptation with kindness. In the film, we see how temptation can turn into vanity, and kindness into jealousy, because vanity will awaken jealousy in kindness, and how this jealousy will destroy everything that gets in its way. The path of violence is the philosophical parable that is included in this black comedy.
Banshee in Irish folklore is a special kind of fairy. Only this is not some sort of good fairy charmer who turns a pumpkin into a carriage, rags into a luxurious dress. Banshee is a serious old woman, a witch, foreshadowing death, in our opinion, consider Baba Yaga. This evil spirits clings just to Irish families with surnames beginning with “o” or “poppy”. So, the evil spirits of the banshee in the form of a vile old woman clung to the god-forgotten island of Inisherin.
In any film, the script always comes first. No strong story, no movie. Rarely, when a director on himself and on the actors can pull out a weak script. Director Martin McDonagh is primarily a playwright and then a director. With his plays and productions, he has seriously infiltrated the British theater, the British already put his name in the ranks with the most prominent personalities. His literary works are actively staged in theaters, including on Broadway, but the author did not give this play to the theaters, he withstood it, he insisted on it, and he finally made a film based on it.
Now we must imagine that a couple of hundred people live on a small piece of island land somewhere on the edge of the world. In the distance, a civil war is raging on the big island of Ireland. Explosions are heard and seen there, and here, among the few inhabitants, the center of the universe is a local pub, and two friends hang around, who share another mug of beer after dinner, and so on for decades.
The whole life of two friends is based on a daily trip to the pub for a pint of beer and communication. Good-natured bore and very simple in every sense, Padraic, Irish actor Colin Farrell, drinks beer in Irish style, which leaves foam on his upper lip. And on the head more cultured, because he plays the violin, his drinking companion Colm is an actor, a red-haired Irishman Brandon Clisson.
One of the main characters at one odd moment comes to his friend, Colm, after dinner, but he does not open the door for him. At the window, Padraik sees his old friend sitting on a chair smoking, but does not open it. Quite strange.
Maybe he offended him in some way, Padraic tries to remember, because after drinking everything could be. When they run into each other at the bar, Padraic apologizes, but Colm replies that there’s nothing to apologize for, he just doesn’t like him anymore. What the hell?! Padraic is completely bewildered. Does it happen? It happens! It turns out that Colm has composed a melody on the violin, and he is going to compose part two and part three, and by Wednesday the world will hear a new tune that would never have been born if Colm had listened to his friend’s stories about his pygmy donkey’s poop.
All this Colm dumps on the poor fellow Padraic. This is how a conflict of two friends is born, which will develop into such a duel that there will be bloody stories, and a fiery hyena, and kindness will turn into jealousy, and temptation into vanity.
How about without temptation? After all, Jesus also said to the disciples in the gospel to a merchant looking for good pearls, who, having found one precious pearl, went and sold everything he had and bought it, that this will be the case at the end of the age: “Angels will go out and separate the evil ones from among the righteous.”
So the violinist was looking for his melody, and when he found it like a pearl, he sold everything he had for this pearl. And he had friendship, because on this forgotten island, apart from the violin and friendship, he had nothing.
Jesus also said, “Woe to the world of temptation, for temptation must come, but woe to that person through whom the temptation comes. But if your hand or your foot offends you, cut them off and throw them away from you. It is better for you to enter life without an arm or a leg than with two arms and two legs to be in the fire for eternity.”
Well, how the violinist made a mistake, and how he found the wrong pearl, he himself turned into an evil one, but only warned his old friend that if he spoke to him again, he would take away the finger of his left hand.
After the simpleton Padraik got drunk with whiskey, he already poured out his anger on Colm. He rebuked his former friend for being kind before, but now he is not good. To which Colm replied: “Probably, kindness is a short-lived thing, but I’ll tell you that it’s forever: music is eternal, paintings are eternal, poetry is eternal. Do you know who from the seventeenth century we remember for their kindness? Absolutely no one. But we all remember the music of that time, everyone knows the name of Mozart. Padraik shouts: “I don’t know, and in general we are talking about kindness, and not about this guy. My mom, I remember her, she was kind, and my dad was good, and my sister, she too, I will remember her forever.”
He is taken away from the institution, Padraika’s sister approaches Koum and says that she will talk with her brother, but Koum stops her.
The bloody war has already unfolded and it cannot be stopped. Also the banshee, that nasty nasty scary old woman, croaked: there will be two corpses on the island. The director creates an intrigue that lasts until the end of the film.
Analysis of the ending
If you are trying to understand the end of the Banshee of Inisherin, you need to take into account the cultural and historical aspect. The film takes place in 1923, at this time a civil war is taking place in Ireland, and the characters themselves are on an island whose name translates as “the island of Ireland”.
The film shows how Colm is trying with all his might to leave behind an artistic legacy, refusing friendship and good relations with others.
Near the ending, Colm longs to return to his former friendship.
He is Disillusioned with his romantic ideals of suffering as he lost his home and his fingers in a pointless confrontation. However, neither he nor Padraic can return, as they are engaged in a pointless fight that will cost them their lives.
In the finale, Colm finally finds the artistic beauty, inspiration and meaning of life, the search for which he devoted so much time and effort to. They cost him their friendship and, in a terrible irony, their ability to play music on the violin he loves so much.
The picture begins as an absurd comedy, but with every minute there are less and less jokes. Outwardly funny heroes live in despair, any deprivation makes you once again convinced that everything is meaningless, there is only death that will come one day.
The theme of death is almost central in all the work of Martin McDonagh, especially in his cinematic incarnation. The death of a child in “Six-Shoot”, the external threat from criminals in “Low Down in Bruges” and “Seven Psychopaths”, an accidental murder in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – everywhere the death of people determined the action of the characters.
In Banshee of Inisherin, no one is going to kill the characters (although the war is going on at their side), but they themselves want to die. This is the most unhappy picture of McDonagh – in principle, there is no way out of the current situation, only feelings, despair, anxiety. It immediately turns out that the story of ordinary people thinking about death is always scarier than stories about killers. And “Banshee Inisherina” easily scares the viewer.
“Banshee of Inisherina” is not afraid to touch on difficult topics
McDonagh never puts particularly deep meanings into films. His recent conversation with Taylor Swift proved this: the singer undertook to analyze the symbolism of severed fingers in Banshee Inisherin, and the director replied that he simply found this detail funny.
However, the movie still reveals the stated issues from an atypical perspective. First , McDonagh reflects on the fate of the artist and his victims. The hermit Colm renounces old friendships and even his own fingers – after all, loneliness and deprivation always haunt great creators. Someone sacrifices personal life and hobbies, someone – health.
Secondly , the film tragically shows the events of the Irish Civil War. All hostilities take place somewhere far away on the mainland – the heroes only occasionally hear explosions and shooting. But the damaged relationship between Colm and Porik rhymes with the conflict of revolutionaries: two close people are not ready to forgive each other because of principles and different outlooks on life. And that’s why they hurt everyone around.
Finally, The Banshee of Inisherina asks a lot of questions about friendship and enmity. What holds people together for years: boredom, fear of being alone, or common interests? And what can destroy this strong bond? Dialogues in the film are often interrupted by picturesque plans of Irish nature – so there will definitely be enough time for reflection.