'The Banshees of Inisherin' movie review: Colin Farrell in an odd film – The Arizona Republic

The best way I can come up with to describe “The Banshees of Inisherin” is … interesting. But, to be honest, I’ve never walked out of a movie feeling more confused. 
The film is a sort of reunion for director Martin McDonagh and stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, who worked together on another dark-comedy, “In Bruges” in 2008.
Farrell also starred in “The Lobster,” which has similar vibes to “The Banshees of Inisherin.” So these guys are no strangers to the genre, but I can’t say this film is their best work. 
Pádraic (Farrell) and Colm (Gleeson) are lifelong best friends until one day they’re not.
Colm decides, seemingly out of nowhere, that he no longer wants to be friends with Pádraic. Not because of anything he did or said, but just because he’s “dull,” and Colm wants to spend the rest of his life having interesting conversations and creating a legacy for himself through music.
Pádraic lives with his sister, Siobhan (Kerry Condon), in their late parents’ house, where they have multiple animals, including Pádraic’s beloved donkey who he treats more like a dog. Siobhan is an avid reader and incredibly smart, but when she is offered a job as a librarian, she’s afraid to accept it, because it would mean leaving Pádraic alone since Colm was his only friend.
Out of loneliness, Pádraic begins spending more time with Dominic (Barry Keoghan), a kid that everyone on the island finds annoying, but who they take pity on because it’s common knowledge that his dad, a police officer, is abusive.
Everybody knows everybody’s business on such a small island. 
In fact, it’s so small that there is only one pub, so Colm and Pádraic are bound to run into each other at some point. And, of course, they do.
When the moment comes, Pádraic can’t help but try to reason with Colm, who threatens that if Pádraic doesn’t leave him alone, he will cut off his own fingers on his left hand, which would make it pretty hard to finish writing the fiddle song he’s been working on.
No one knows whether he’s bluffing or not, but it’s a risk they urge Pádraic not to take. 
“The Banshees of Inisherin” is named for the title Colm gives the song he’s writing. In Irish folklore, banshees are female spirits who scream or shriek to signal a family member is going to die soon. 
It’s visually stunning, well written and the acting is top-notch. But without context, the plot falls flat, leaving behind an unsettling and bizarre film.
Perhaps, I can save you from my fate by offering you a bit of history.
The relationship between Pádraic and Colm in “The Banshess” is an allegory for the Irish Civil War that ended in 1923, the year in which the film is set. The plot makes a lot more sense once you know that.
My question is, how was I supposed to know that? Is it just me? Is everyone else well-versed in 1920’s Irish history?
Maybe I’m the problem. Some movies just aren’t for everyone. And in this case, perhaps this movie just wasn’t for me.  
Great ★★★★★ Good ★★★★
Fair ★★★ Bad ★★ Bomb ★
Director: Martin McDonagh.
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan.
Rating: R for language throughout, some violent content and brief graphic nudity.
Note: In theaters starting Oct. 28.
Contact the reporter at alexis.potter@azcentral.com or follow the reporter on Twitter @alexispotter_.


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