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Colin Farrell in Dark Comedy – The Hollywood Reporter

Ireland’s western countryside was the setting for a group of plays that blossomed out of their remarkable early prolific mid-1990s that put Martin McDonagh on the map. But aside from the original title intended to complete his Aran Islands trilogy, Inisherin’s Banshees exist for decades in the larval stage, unproduced and unpublished. The playwright sees this as an immature work, likely to return later when he grows up. Keeping the title intact but spinning a whole new thread to accentuate its hints of folk balladry, the screenwriter-director’s brilliantly-acted fourth work is the best on-screen Irish work for to date and is also one of his best works.

A dark comedy that steadily evolves into an unexpectedly poignant tale of friendship being severed – with violent force when distance fails to produce the desired effect – though never erased, the series The film can be read as McDonagh analyzes the cultural heritage of his Irish roots. It’s more likely, however, that this natural-born narrator is simply composing a melancholy duet, a separation that reverberates throughout the tiny population of a fictional island, revealing it to be a haunted by silence, solitude and madness, but also kind and resilient. mankind.

Inisherin’s Banshees

Key point

Bloody and beautiful.

Location: Venice Film Festival (Competition)
Release date: Friday, October 21
Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan, Gary Lydon, Pat Shortt, Jon Kenny, Sheila Flitton, David Pearse, Bríd Ní Neachtain, Aaron Monaghan
Director and screenwriter: Martin McDonagh

R-rated, 1 hour 54 minutes

The film reunites Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, whose age, physical, and character-type differences make for a Beckettian pairing that accentuates both actors, as it did in McDonagh’s feature film debut in 2008, In Bruges. They lead a ruminant synthesis that expertly balances tragedy with macabre inhabited territory, adjacent to McDonagh’s theatrical production but also cinematic. The second factor is thanks to Ben Davis’ soulful big-screen cinematography, which lends a mythical quality to craggy landscapes, and Carter Burwell’s mood-altering score, one of the loveliest. his.

McDonagh’s gift for flavorful dialogue and character is on display from the quick set-up, when Pádraic (Farrell) shows up at the lonely fisherman’s house of lifelong friend Colm (Gleeson) for their regular 2pm date and confused by his cold. receive. The elderly man sat inside smoking in brooding silence, clearly visible through the window but offering no explanation for his refusal to acknowledge Padraic’s presence.

Mysterious rejection weighs heavily on Padraic at the bar, where questions about his friend’s public absence, Jonjo (Pat Shortt), rub salt into the wound. “Why didn’t he answer the door for me?” Pádraic asks his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) at the house they share with his beloved miniature donkey, Jenny (a scene stealer to rival the protagonist in Jerzy Skolimowski’s). EO.)

The next day, back in the pub, Colm told Pádraic to sit elsewhere but confirmed that the younger man had said or done nothing to upset him: “I just don’t like you anymore.” Gleeson’s heavy countenance cost Colm a bare minimum of justification for his actions, but after much firm urging from Padraic in the days that followed, he admitted to finding him sad. meager. Siobhán protested: “But he is always dull. “What has changed?”

As Pádraic’s wounded embarrassment grows with Colm’s gruff courage, the elderly man can feel his life slipping away and only long for some inner peace. He wants to spend the rest of his days thinking and composing music for his hard work. This latter interest causes him to develop new friendships with local music students, leaving Pádraic suddenly isolated.

While the setting is 1923 and this intimate conflict takes place against the backdrop of cannons and gunfire from the Civil War raging across the land, McDonagh teases humor in the split of the people. old friend. This is especially so in Farrell’s bittersweet performance when this man of sweet intellect is forced to think about his limitations for the first time. Telling himself he was “nice, not boring,” Padraic believes Colm is depressed and needs his help. His clumsy interventions cause Colm to resort to drastic, self-mutilating measures to convince Pádraic that he is taking his life seriously.

The concept of a 1920s Irish farmer (Pádraic raises a handful of cows to supply milk to the general store) discusses depression as unlikely as terms like “tough love” and “nutbag” in the vernacular. But McDonagh imbued the story with a timeless dimension that matches the cliff faces, icy seas and overcast skies in its atmospheric setting.

While the spooky folk creatures in the title aren’t represented literally, Mrs. McCormick (Sheila Flitton) looks set to thrive after doom. “One death will come, maybe even two,” she interjected with what sounded like toxic joy.

Siobhán, an avid reader and the only character whose thoughts never escaped Inisherin, called the people there “bitter and spiritual”, describing the place as “nothing but bleak”. and time goes by slow. She loves her brother and even likes Colm. But in Condon’s clever, whip-sharp performance, her patience was worn down to the bone. “One more silent man on Inisherin,” she called to Colm. “You are all very ‘borin’ with your confusing complaints.”

The ripple effect of Pádraic and Colm’s bust touches everyone in different ways – the gossip peddler (Bríd Ní Neachtain) who demands news like it’s the only currency she accepts ; the priest (David Pearse), who comes to the island every week to say Mass, hear Confessions, and bite back when challenged; bad-tempered cop (Gary Lydon) who often drowns his frustrations in hooch and vents his rage on his son Dominic (Barry Keoghan) in various abusive ways. Even a pub’s peaceful gathering place is compromised by tension.

While he’s not the brightest ray of light and doesn’t mind the standard social filters, Dominic is more keen than anyone to give him the credit. He has a touching openness about himself, especially when it comes to being nervous, self-delusional about flirting with Siobhán, one of the few times she lets go of her fragile separation. Keoghan takes on this small role and invests each line with a lot of delicate details as well as a humorous eccentric personality. It’s a wonderfully weird performance, no less essential to the film’s onion-like emotional layers than that of Farrell and Gleeson.

The recurring scenes in which Pádraic uses Dominic as a panel for his sadness are particularly tender. Farrell strikes a good balance between the exasperation of the officer’s son and the painful need to fill the friendship void created by Colm’s withdrawal from his life.

Across the board, the actors couldn’t have been better. Some of them are veterans of McDonagh’s plays, including Condon, Shortt, Lydon, Flitton, and Aaron Monaghan, who starred in the show. The Cripple of Inishmaan and here’s a hilarious scene where Colm’s musician friend, gets kicked out of the way by Pádraic as he turns uncharacteristically cruel. The cast’s understanding of the distinctive rhythms and musical innateness of McDonagh’s language add to the theatrical character, yet the material is never static or theatrical.

A sense of place envelops the viewer in every frame. Davis shoots the exterior (shot in Inishmore, in the Aran Islands) in overcast natural light, with candles and gas lights for the interior, befitting an area where there was no electricity until the 1970s. And Mark Tildesley’s production design is so detailed, from Pádraic and Siobhán’s rustic family farm to a dilapidated pub to Colm’s cottage, whose walls and ceilings are covered with musical instruments, masks, animals puppets and other works of art speak to his cultural interests far beyond this remote place.

Throughout the film, McDonagh purposefully flirts with the absurd and grotesque, ending the story with customary creative violence and stealthy suspense-building. But for all its wit, bubbly talk, and deceptive lightness, this is arguably the writer-director’s most influential work. The brutal arc in Farrell and Gleeson’s performance – two men who once bonded together easily, both eventually turning inward with glowing discontent – instills the despair that, in the end, brings give them a mutual comfort.

Accepting sadness as a part of life seems to only come with age, which shows that McDonagh was right to sit in this title all those years, until he was able to figure out the characters and a story to execute it.

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