Like the sparse land of its setting, Inisherin is a film that reveals multitudes through observation and reflection. While I’m writing mostly of its emotional seriousness, it is also compassionate and humorous.
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This isn’t a film that strives for big laughs — McDonagh seems more interested in putting you in a particular frame of mind, even when doing so requires a fair bit of downtime and dead air — but its constant undercurrent of humor affords the story’s most pressing questions an appropriately ridiculous context, one that speaks to the absurdities of all existence.
For all its wit, its lively talk and deceptive lightness, this is arguably the writer-director’s most affecting work.
The result feels closer than any of his previous films to the barbed, intimate lyricism of McDonagh’s work as a playwright, and more deeply, sorrowfully felt to boot.
McDonagh’s latest is a worthy In Bruges reunion: smart, funny, deeply felt.
Like In Bruges, The Banshees of Inisherin is a dark movie that is often downright hilarious.
There are plenty of genuine laughs in this movie, but each of them seems to dovetail into a banshee-wail of pain.
Those wary of McDonagh after the bulldozer that was Billboards should seek out this film; at its best, The Banshees of Inisherin whispers and laments and amuses the way McDonagh’s best stage writing does. And it offers the invaluable opportunity to see Farrell in his hangdog element, as Pádraic scrambles about trying to find purchase in the world, ever creaking and groaning in motion.
This is an often shoulder-shudderingly funny film, whose comic dialogue is dazzlingly designed and performed. But McDonagh leaves fate itself with the last, black, bone-rattling laugh.
Rich, layered, and full of beautiful shapeshifting emotional depth—at times laugh-out-loud funny, and then stopping on a dime to turn melancholy, heartrending, and or horrifying—The Banshee of Insherin will surely unsettle audiences trying to pinpoint blame or ascribe a hero or villain to the piece. Its morality and personal sympathies are purposefully opaque.