November 7, 2022

The Banshees of Inisherin: This movie had quite a bit of buzz surrounding at TIFF in September, and I tried unsuccessully to get tickets for it. I liked the idea of a travel log for Ireland, since I was there pre-pandemic in May 2019 and I always like seeing the coast. So I was looking forward to seeing this, even though I knew very little of the details of the plot. I knew I liked both Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell when they starred together in In Bruges back in 2008 (another travel log for me since I have been to Bruges twice). They were re-united with the director as well. So let the movie roll.

Set in 1923, which you don’t see for quite some time, this is a story with a simple premise of a small community on this remote Irish island. Colin Farrell plays Padraic, who lives with his sister on a small farm with a variety of farm animals. Padraic goes to his friend’s house, Colm, played by Gleeson looking to gather him up to head to the pub. This is their routine. Colm doesn’t acknowledge Padraic’s presence, and ignores his question to head towards the pub. In short order, Colm announces that he doesn’t want to be friends with Padraic anymore. He finds him dim and dull, as he grows older he wants more out of his life than inane conversation about nothing. Colm wants to leave something behind, like Mozart or Monet with music or art. Padraic is puzzled and this change in his mundane routine preoccupies his every waking thought. Things escalate from there and build into moments of dark comedy coupled with drama.

So what is the underlying message in all of this? In a small community where everybody knows everybody’s business and there are limited opportunities to expand one’s horizons how can someone change the direction of their life? Some would argue watching this movie that education is the ticket for change. Others may say that there is a pre-destined fate that awaits us, and it’s hard to change that. Other themes can include one’s ability to tolerate those among us who are less mentally capable can impact our own health. Not just mentally. If I am making this sound like a very deep movie, I am likely giving it more credit than is due. Overall, I don’t think I can recommend in good conscience. I did not expect what I saw, and it was overall quite slow. That seems to be an going complaint for me these days. Alison was lamenting the really good movies and her thirst for quality content. Sadly this initial promising offering doesn’t assist her for that quality movie going experience. I did like the scenes of the Irish coast and farms. I recognized the similar small minds of locals more intent on other’s people’s business like what happened to Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, and ultimately drove her away from her small Irish town herself. In the end I was glad that I hadn’t pay TIFF prices for a movie that I see a few weeks later and it disappoints. I did laugh out loud on a number of occasions, but the uneven tone made some of those laughs a little hollow. Maybe exaggerating to make a point makes sense in the movie, but to follow through with it is a little disconcerting.