The Banshees of Inisherin Review – Dark Drama Highlights Mental Illness, Loss

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The Banshees of Inisherin, from Searchlight Pictures, brings to the screen a dark tale of loss, mental illness, friendship gone awry, devotion, retaliation, and vengeance, as two lifelong friends on a remote Irish coast deal with trauma.

The film begins with Pádraic, played by Colin Farrell, walking through the small countryside from his humble home that he shares with his sister, Siobhán, played by Kerry Condon, to visit his lifelong friend Colm, played by Brendan Gleeson.

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Arriving at Colm's home, he knocks and receives no answer. He looks through the windows and see him simply sitting. Even to Pádraic, who appears to be unable to "read" the signs, something is wrong. He explains this to his sister, who is very intelligent, and she also seems puzzled.

Finally, he makes his way to the local Pub, the village gathering place, and Colm is standing at the bar, and explains, he just doesn't want to be friends anymore and with certainty and without provocation ends the friendship.

This sends Pádraic, into a tailspin. He joins up with Dominic Kearney, played by Barry Keoghan, who in between being beaten and sexually assaulted by his father, Peadar, played by Gary Lydon, who is also the town's police chief, he drinks himself to anesthetize against the hurt and pain. Suddenly, neither of these two can recognize who they were before.

Pádraic, doesn't give up. He wants to know why, what he had done, and admits if he did something he would apologize, Colm, on the other hand, refuses to speak to him and worse explains, if he doesn't stop trying to find out why he ended the friendship he would cut of one finger for every time he tries to talk to him.

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Of course, no one, least of all Pádraic believes he would resort to self-mutilation. This is where the film takes a darker turn into the mind of mental illness. Now, Colm has made Pádraic responsible for his life, and as someone who cares, genuinely cares deeply, entrusted with his friend's life to him means talking about his feelings. Of course, this results in Colm following through with his self-mutilation.

Everyone is shocked. He is walking around bandaged and blaming his former friend for his actions. And of course, to prove he is more intelligent, and Pádraic is nothing more than the village idiot, someone he felt sorry for, so he bestowed the gift of his friendship upon him, Colm belittles him in public to a group of drunkards. None of which understand the details of his story are wrong, except for Siobhan, who corrects him publicly.

This confrontation sets up the final act as we see Pádraic pushed to the brink, as Siobhan is offered a job on the mainland, and now alone with only his animals, sorrow upon sorrow hits as he is subjected to what many would think would be a death blow.

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The Banshees of Inisherin highlights the torment of mental illness, abusive relationships, and a belief that people can inflict pain and suffering upon others without consequence. It also presents a truth: flee or death, fight, or flight. The only escape in to leave, to remove yourself from the situation.

The film also presents many contributors to the deep seeded mental illness, the heavy drinking, Satanic influences, harboring the sins of others which becomes permission to maintain the status quo.

The ensemble cast are authentic and give genuine, realistic performances. The film also generates strong reactions. I left the screening wondering if they could have found another less graphic manifestation for the mental illness, and then realized that the heightened imagery of self-mutilation punctuates the point vividly. The infusion of music and humor is always tinted with darkness, and accuratelyportrays what life is like in an abusive home.

The Banshees of Inisherin opens in theaters everywhere October 21, 2022. See it.

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Country: Ireland.

Release Date: October 21, 2022.

Runtime: 109minutes.

Director: Martin McDonagh.

Writer: Martin McDonagh.

Producer: Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin, Martin McDonagh.

Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, Kerry Condon, Berry Keoghan.

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