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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'The Banshees of Inisherin': A Singularly Wry and Allegorical Representation of The Irish Civil War


Movie poster for The Banshees of Inisherin

The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) is a singularly wry comedy-drama starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as Pádraic and Colm, lifelong friends on the fictitious Irish isle of Inisherin. Set in the year 1923, the storyline begins with Colm unceremoniously terminating his friendship with Pádraic, intending to focus entirely on his musical compositions instead.


After years of camaraderie on the sparsely populated island, Colm decides that Pádraic is dull and unworthy of his time—much to the dismay of the guileless Pádraic. Attempts to win back Colm’s favor only further the gulf between them, with Colm going so far as to threaten bodily harm upon himself if Pádraic persists. What ensues is a darkly humorous tête-à-tête between the two, as Pádraic sinks into despair and desperation, despite the support of his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) and village dimwit Dominic (Barry Keoghan).


Written and directed by Irish playwright and filmmaker Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths), “The Banshees of Inisherin” is a multi-layered treatise on human fallibility as well as an allegorical nod to the concurrent Irish Civil War. Representing the opposing forces of the Irish Free State and the Irish Republican Army, Farrell and Gleeson are pure gold in their performances—disparate souls at a dramatic turning point, confronted by the enigma of human individuality.


 

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