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The Banshees of Inisherin

Once upon a time, musician Colm quit his friendship with his best friend, Pádraic the farmer. Just like that. An existential folk fairy tale directed by Martin McDonagh.


Pádraic (Colin Farrell) walks past a fairy-tale rainbow and a Madonna statue over a very green Irish island by the sea, where his friend Colm lives in a little white house. He knocks. Nothing. He looks through the window. The gramophone is playing. Colm (Brendan Gleeson) is obviously there, but he‘s not budging. Pádraic calls out “I‘ll go ahead then“ and goes to the pub and orders two pints of Guinness. One for him and one for his friend Colm. Just like always. But Colm isn‘t his friend anymore, and the only explanation is “I just don‘t like you anymore.“ THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN is nominally set in 1923 in the remote (fictional) island of Inisherin. Once in a while news about the Civil War in the mainland makes the rounds, but the people here are more busy thinking about their next beer, the music, their animals, and a bit of gossip and the existential loneliness that has seemed to affect everyone here. But the dilemma that Pádraic and Colm are dealing with is timeless, and McDonagh‘s narrative style is so universal yet idiosyncratic that the story feels like a kind of folk tale, with archetypes that McDonagh has invented for this purpose.

After Colm‘s announcement, Pádraic goes through the phases of a difficult break-up: disbelief is followed by anger, especially when he finds out from his sister that Colm finds him boring and wants to spend the rest of his days dedicating his time to composing rather then talking to Pádraic about his donkey‘s digestion. Pádraic tries to pretend as if nothing happened and he tries to confront him until Colm gives him an ultimatum: every time Pádraic tries to contact him, he will hack off a finger from his violin playing hand. And, as you would expect from the director of IN BRUGES and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, he goes through with this. The laconic cruelty of the characters towards themselves and others is one of McDonagh‘s trademarks. In the past, it often felt arbitrary to me, just a pure lust for transgression, a gag among men, politically unpleasant at times. In BANSHEES, however, it arises from the fundamental inability to be happy in the world. Colm‘s yearning for peace and art is just as existential, justified, banal and excessive as Pádraic‘s yearning to hold on to his friend. The feud that stems from these needs, which unfold in sparse dialogue and surreal scenes, while the village witch utters dark prophecies, is as ridiculous as it is epic in scope.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Irland/Großbritannien/USA 2022, 109 min
Genre: Drama
Director: Martin McDonagh
Author: Martin McDonagh
DOP: Ben Davis
Montage: Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
Music: Carter Burwell
Distributor: Walt Disney
Cast: Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, Kerry Condon, Brendan Gleeson
Release: 05.01.2023



  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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