The Banshees of Inisherin Combines Great Performances And A Moving Story

The Banshees of Inisherin begins in what appears to be a whimsical tale of two life long friends Padraci (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson). Padraci visits his friend at 2pm every day so the two can go to the local pub and have a pint. Only today is different when Colm avoids Padraci and eventually tells him he does not want to be friends anymore. Completely thrown for a loop, rather than respecting Colm’s request to leave him alone, Padraci repeatedly tries to repair their friendship. This tale evolves into story of self-reflection, desire for legacy and stubbornness leading to quiet rage, as Colm eventually tells Padraci that he will cut off a finger each time Padraci talks to him.

Farrell and Gleeson are masterful in the subtlety of their performances and their chemistry together. Farrell’s performance of Padraci is a simple man, both in life and intelligence. Above all, he appears to be “nice” and loyal. So, when Colm desires to no longer waste his time with Padraci, Padraci cannot grasp why. He is unable to look at himself and recognize that perhaps he needs to evolve in some way to be a better friend. Instead, he stubbornly chooses to continually talk to Colm, as if he could talk some sense into him, rather than respecting his friend’s request. When the events of the film force Padraci to change, he goes to the extreme.

On the other hand, Gleeson’s performance of Colm includes self-reflection that uncovers an aspiration for a musical legacy that lives past him. While at first, we might understand and even relate to his request to be left alone so he can create his legacy, we quickly realize that his desire pushes him to act without true conviction for his music, because he would not be so quick to chop off his fingers if his legacy actually mattered. It is clear he cares for Padraci, but is inflexible in his own stubbornness of his decision.

In addition to Farrell and Gleeson’s excellent performance, so too are the performances of Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan. Condon plays Padraci’s sister who is a voice of reason that no one seems to listen to. She is educated and while it is never really said, stays with and takes care of Padraci out of familial duty. The actions of her brother and his friend lead to her own introspection of her desire to leave the island in pursuit of more. Meanwhile Keoghan plays the island “idiot” Dominic, who in his simplistic actions and observational honesty, is a catalyst of sorts for all the primary characters. Both performances are exceptional.

4 out of 5 stars.