Plot: What’s it about?
There are filmmakers who come around every once in a while that have me scratching my head. Making movies, like anything else, has highs and lows. We often hear about “the next Spielberg” or “the next Tarantino”, but more often than not – those don’t come to fruition. But I have to hand it to Martin McDonagh – he’s managed to carve out a nice little niche for himself and has gotten more than a few accolades along the way. While a viewing of his 2008 film In Bruges isn’t necessarily required, it might help a relative newcomer to his films get in the right mode. McDonagh went a bit more mainstream in 2012’s Seven Psychopaths (also starring Farrell) it did have some standout performances from Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken. McDonagh found the most success (so far) with 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The film was nominated for Best Picture (it lost to The Shape of Water), though it did merit Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell acting Oscars in their respective categories. With The Banshees of Inisherin, he reunites his In Bruges stars – Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Is the magic still there?
Set in the early part of the 1920’s on the island of Inisherin, we meet Padraic (Colin Farrell), who lives with his sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon). Padraic’s friend, Colm (Brendan Gleeson) seems to be acting a bit strangely though, cold and distant. This leads to Colm eventually explaining that he wants to call off their friendship as he doesn’t like him anymore. Padraic, shocked and stunned, sets out to find the reason behind this revelation and tries to get his friend back in the process. But things are never as easy as they seem and it’s not before long that Padraic learns of some alarming consequences to his actions that follow…
Admittedly, this is a rather strange plot for a film. Then again, if you really think about it, most movies are. But it’s ultimately how they’re written, acted and directed that makes those stand out as memorable. And McDonagh, along with frequent co-star Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, make it work. We’re eager to explore the intriguing themes of friendship, life and death. Farrell, Gleeson and Condon all turn in wonderful performances. Truthfully, it’s hard to pick who’s best. And that’s what makes this film so engaging to watch – there’s really not a bad performance in the mix. This won’t be for everyone, but fans of McDonagh (or any of the actors) are certainly in for a treat.
Video: How’s it look?
If you’ve never been to Ireland, this is a pretty good representation of what it looks like. Green. As far as the eye can see. I remember looking at the countryside from my bus and being amazed how everything was so…green! And cows. And sheep. Lots of both. Moving onto the film, however, it’s beautifully-shot. I very much enjoy the way that McDonagh’s films look visually. Fox’s 2.39:1 AVC HD image leaves nothing to the imagination, either. It’s razor sharp, showcases the lush landscapes and beautiful cinematography. Colors are bright and bold. Detail is spot on as well, we can now see that In Bruges was indeed a decade and a half ago as evidenced by some new wrinkles and grey hair in the stars.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The included DTS HD Master Audio mix isn’t quite as impressive as the visuals, but still manages to get the point across. Like other movies of this, uh…genre, I will have to say that the accents do make it pretty difficult to understand. With both Gleeson and Farrell being of Irish decent, I can imagine that the accents are genuine and, therefore, quite thick. Bottom line, I’d put your closed captions on. Yeah, they’re a bit annoying, but I found it easier to follow what was going on. Couple that with Carter Burwell’s magnificent score and you’ve got a winning hand.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Creating The Banshees of Inisherin – Go into the inimitable mind of director-writer Martin McDonagh as he delves into The Banshees of Inisherin, from story inception and reunion of its gifted actors, to searching the islands of Ireland for the perfect, evocative locations.
- Deleted Scenes – Five total, though none really add a lot to the mix.
- Chasing Colm
- Colm Can’t Compose
- Parents’ Grave and Peadar
- Siobhan Crying Too Loud
- Stoic Equals Boring
The Bottom Line
Likely, The Banshees of Inisherin won’t be for everyone. Most of McDonagh’s films are. But I’ve found a certain kinship with them and I have to say that I’m a fan. Fox’s Blu-ray looks beautiful and sounds nearly as good. There’s no reason for fans of this film or any of McDonagh’s shouldn’t pick this up.