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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Criticism: ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’

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Via IMDb

 Art critic Joey Kirk says “The Banshees of Inisherin” is impeccably made , with gorgeous cinematography.’

 

Rating: 9/10
“The Banshees of Inisherin” is a modern fable, weaving a tale of a small, Irish community with themes all too relevant today. When an older man doesn’t want to be friends with his younger companion anymore, a silly story of loneliness or longing seems too simple and too ambitious to work. Instead, “The Banshees of Inisherin” quickly casts its spell thanks to a magical original score, evolving into one of the funniest and most gut-wrenching films of the year.
Writer-director Martin McDonagh is in real control of his craft at this point. He started his career as a successful playwright, eventually taking his writing skills to film. His feature film “In Bruges” (2008) is hailed as one of the great modern crime movies. He went on to write and direct “Seven Psychopaths” (2012) before striking gold, or at least silver, with “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017). It was a critical hit, garnered seven Oscar nominations, and might have won Best Picture in a less competitive year.
And then comes “The Banshees of Inisherin,” which might be his best work yet. The film stars Colin Farrell as Pádraic, the nicest guy in the small town of Inisherin. Pádraic lives a simple life in a simple town. He avoids the village idiot, shares meals with his sister and goes to the pub every day with his pal, Colm. One day, Colm doesn’t want to go to the pub. In fact, Colm doesn’t want to be Pádraic’s friend anymore. He’s got better things to do.
The innocent premise of a broken male friendship doesn’t immediately take itself seriously. It could be an April Fools’ prank or a symptom of an old man’s depression episode. Watching Pádraic look for a simple explanation, we instead discover feelings unexpectedly sympathetic and bleak. It lays its emotional groundwork underneath absurdity and drinking, building into something surprisingly profound.
The first credit goes to the script, which is nearly perfect. Each character in this ensemble feels fleshed and complex with their own motivations and character arcs, like a brilliant play. There’s a smooth pacing as we sit with these characters and their ordinary lives, quickly learning to love them and to yearn for their contentment. No scene feels out of place in this tight progression of feelings and conflict. Every scene has its own brilliance, and whether hilarious or tear-jerking, it all serves the fable-like journey.
The relative simplicity allows Banshees to go deeper than a crowded story. When sitting with the older Colm, there comes a natural pondering about mortality and subsequent legacy. When hearing about the brilliance of Pádraic’s older sister, there comes a suspicion that she could be doing more with her life. When following Pádraic, there comes a real sense of heartbreak from the loss of a best friend. Somehow, simplicity yields profundity in Inisherin.
The unnoticed credit goes to Carter Burwell’s score. Immediately, it suggests that there is something more beautiful and mysterious under the surface. In fact, the score often offers the deepest insights into the eventual tone of the film. It’s a quiet score, suspiciously simple like its subject. Eventually, the story catches up with the same mystery and gravitas at the heart of the music, almost breeding into a fairytale.
Living through a pandemic, the loneliness at the core of Banshees is familiar, even if its setting isn’t. The film casts its spell on audiences and critics alike, and looks to be a strong player at the next years’ Academy Awards. The film “Banshees” is impeccably well-made, with some gorgeous cinematography and stellar performances, especially from a donkey, but the magic comes from its simplicity. Seek it out, even if blockbusters are taking up most of the local screens.

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