Movie Review: The Banshees Of Inisherin

The small Irish island of Inisherin, 1923. Pádraic (Farrell) and Colm (Gleeson) have been friends for as long as anyone can remember. But one day, while civil war rages on the mainland nearby, Colm suddenly announces that the friendship is over. Pádraic is confused and devastated, while Colm starts taking incomprehensibly drastic measures.

How do you break up with a best friend? It’s a good question, tackled brilliantly by Seinfeld way back in its first season. After all, the rules of social disengagement are pretty clear when it comes to sexual relationships, even more so when they involve divorce. But separating from a buddy you just don’t like anymore? When the pair of you live on a small, scantily populated island with only one pub? How do you go about that?

In Martin McDonagh’s world, the answer is: brutally. After resolving to dissolve his friendship with the dependable but dull Pádraic (Colin Farrell), Colm (Brendan Gleeson) bluntly tells his ex-friend he doesn’t want talk to him or drink with him ever again. No explanation given. No attempt made to soften the blow. Of course, if you’re familiar with writer-director McDonagh’s previous film work, from In Bruges to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, such tactlessness should come as no surprise — McDonagh’s scripts are so abrasive, you could use them as sandpaper. So the focus of the film is less on Colm’s decision, and more on Pádraic’s reaction, not to mention the impact it has on his “limited” (another character’s word, not ours) life.

Ironically, for a story about a friendship-wreck, The Banshees Of Inisherin is also a reunion: of McDonagh with the double act that made the hitman antics of In Bruges such a piquant treat. However, Farrell and Gleeson don’t spend nearly as much time on screen together here, for self-evident reasons. It’s a shame, in a small way, but it does add to the pervading sense of wrongness.

Colm is largely inscrutable, despite the occasional revelation of sorts, and the odd flash of kindliness. McDonagh never fully reveals what drives him to the Pádraic-alienating extremes he goes to later in the film, and that makes him the more emotionally distant of the two men.

This is primarily Pádraic’s story; the tale of a good, decent fella who, through an enforced process of self-examination, finds and embraces other, sharper facets to his personality. Farrell is fantastic in the role, delivering one of his best-ever performances. He takes on a kind of sagging anti-charisma, a seeming guilelessness which he initially plays for laughs, but then gradually and convincingly brews into something much darker.

Complementing him perfectly is Kerry Condon as Pádraic’s savvy sister, Siobhan. Her exasperation at her brother’s response to Colm’s ultra-dick move is thoroughly relatable, and you’ll welcome every moment she spends on screen. Siobhan also evokes the most sympathy as a woman who has clearly, desperately outgrown this cliff- edged, wall-scarred speck of an island — a realisation only underlined by the clumsy amorous attentions of Barry Keoghan’s damaged youth, Dominic, a character that sadly gets the shortest narrative shrift of the bunch.

Tenderly scored by Carter Burwell and gorgeously shot by cinematographer Ben Davis — the drama may be intimate, but the backdrop feels epic — The Banshees Of Inisherin is a film whose unhurried pace never drags. It is, we suppose, McDonagh’s gentlest offering yet (and the fact that his gentlest film involves acts of mutilation says a lot about his other work). That said, you could also argue it is his first war movie. And not just because it is set during the Irish Civil War of 1922-23, which is heard raging just a few miles across the water. After all, Colm and Pádraic’s split is really just that war in microcosm. The causes are obscure and confusing, the emerging conflict escalates fast, the previously close participants employ tactics that would have once been unthinkable. And the after-effects will be felt for years to come.

McDonagh has never been one for neat resolutions, so it’s not giving anything away to say that we’re denied one here, too. This is no bromantic-comedy, and you really shouldn’t be hoping for any feel-good vibes (though there are plenty of laughs, if your humour verges on the dark side). But the film is engrossing and beautifully mounted, and is sure to not disappoint anyone who’s enjoyed McDonagh’s previous rough rides.

Another great feel-bad treat from Martin McDonagh, featuring one of Colin Farrell’s best performances yet as a guy trying (and failing) to deal with the fallout of a falling out.

Source: The Banshees Of Inisherin

Trump card: Can Brendan Gleeson pull off playing Trump in new TV series The Comey Rule?

In early trailers for the controversial new TV mini-series The Comey Rule, Brendan Gleeson looks uncannily like the 45th US President, swaggering around in enormous suits, his skin a day-glow orange, his hair whisked into a gravity-defying quiff.

In early trailers for the controversial new TV mini-series The Comey Rule, Brendan Gleeson looks uncannily like the 45th US President, swaggering around in enormous suits, his skin a day-glow orange, his hair whisked into a gravity-defying quiff.

He’s well-cast as Donald Trump, the same height (6ft 2in), and with a similarly imposing physique. But on the basis of a 10-second trailer, there have already been criticisms of his vocal approach: he delivers lines in a muttering growl, which some have complained is insufficiently Trumpian.

Gleeson is a wily and intelligent actor and, before taking on this role, will have wrestled with a difficult question: how do you play perhaps the most impersonated man on the planet? It started with Alec Baldwin’s clownish turns on Saturday Night Live, and now everyone has a Trump impression. To get beyond the caricature and embody the man himself, Gleeson would have to ditch the well-worn tics and come up with something new. No doubt he has.

The drama, based on former FBI chief James Comey’s memoir and due to be screened in September, is unlikely to be flattering: Comey (who’s played by Jeff Daniels) was fired by Trump in May, 2017 on foot of the investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election; his distaste for his former boss is well known.

Brendan Gleeson transforms into Donald Trump in the first teaser for TV drama The Comey Rule

Brendan Gleeson transforms into Donald Trump in the first teaser for TV drama The Comey Rule

Source: Trump card: Can Brendan Gleeson pull off playing The Donald in new TV series The Comey Rule?

10 Best British Gangster Movies Ever

The Hobbledehoy notes the omission of 1997’s absolutely marvelous  gangster flick I Went Down directed by Paddy Breathnach and starring Brendan Gleeson, Peter McDonald and Michael McElhatton.

True, I Went Down is Irish not British, but the same can be said for In Bruges, which is on this Top 10 list. But who cares about rules anyway? Certainly not gangsters!

Nobody does gangster movies quite like the Brits, eh? The origins of the British crime thriller go back almost 75 years, though the genre truly picked up speed in the late 1960s, with the following three decades in particular serving up a slew of quintessential British gangster romps.

From comedy-laced capers to more serious, unexpectedly character-driven thrillers, these are the ten most influential genre entries that have been copied, parodied and homaged over the years – often successfully, but more often not – and set the groundwork for an entire film industry in of itself.

See all 10 movies at: 10 Best British Gangster Movies Ever