If you have lived in a very small town, you know that everything revolves around small routines, and friendships are cemented around the time to have a drink at the bar, play mus, or take a walk around. Martin McDonagh doesn’t care in the slightest about these routines when telling the story of a friendship unilaterally cut short and carried to the last consequences. From the start, ‘Inisherin’s Banshees’ it only seeks utter destruction with no intention of rebuilding afterwards.
McDonagh does not let us know anything about the friendship between Pádraic and Colm because it is not necessary: what matters is the breakup, the heartbreak and the bitterness of that moment in which you know (but do not accept) that you have lost someone What do you want forever? Normally the cinema has told us about love, but deep down there are few sensations as hard (and real) as losing a friend overnight for whom you would have given everything without receiving any explanation. Perhaps for this reason, as spectators, it is impossible not to be first on Pádraic’s side. But later, the script is so clever that it makes our own perception change… imperceptibly.
The film, apparently small, he opens all the fronts that he can until he becomes an incomprehensible monster, a monument to sadness paradoxically full of comedy that raises two ways of seeing life: one believes that it is better to go down in history as someone recognized. Another, that his thing is to live a happy existence next to the people who love you. At no time do both ideas try to come together, without realizing that they are absolutely insignificant next to the civil war that, a few kilometers away, does not stop ringing. About what the diatribes about their friendship (or their enmity) are born of an absurd egomania.
But none of this is narrated with pomposity, slowness or haughtiness: ‘Inisherin’s Banshees’ has superb pacing and an intrinsic sense of humor that even in the darkest moments accompanies its characters and turns a drama made up of enmities in crescendo into a tragicomedy in which when you’re sad, you bring your donkey home. It’s pure Martin McDonagh through and through, as poignant as it is depressing, as hilarious as it is human.
One thing I’ve always hated in movie reviews is that “New York is the most important character in the movie” moment, but at some point you have to betray yourself and say that Ireland is one more character in the film. If you have walked along the cliffs of Northern Ireland, enjoyed unparalleled views and your breath has been taken away by seeing one of the most dangerous, inclement, cold and at the same time beautiful areas of Europeyou will better understand the tone of the film, which is based around a unique geography.
And it is that his characters adhere to the place where they live: Inisherin is revealed as a kind of limbo, a place that calls for sadness, as beautiful on the outside as deeply desperate on the inside., in which artistic concerns will never go beyond a serenade in the pub and a life is reduced to the smallness of your own existence. And it is at this moment, once we understand the slow agony of living in a place as beautiful as it is inhospitable when, finally, we understand Colm’s vital displeasure, that far from being able to express it (after all, he thinks he is much wiser of what it really is), he decides to represent it with a blow to the table that never comes to fruition.
Because Colm really doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life trying to perpetuate his music: in the face of old age and the prison that Inisherin supposes for him (watch out for the framing of the doors and the window frames that enclose him even more), just looking for a change. Whichever. Break with everything to try to reform his life from scratch. And in the end it is this rupture that becomes his new objective in life, to the point of abandoning his dreams and ambitions to make his point of view clear. Colm never wanted to go down in history: just for his despair to be heard.
the donkey stays
Indeed, ‘Innisherin’s Banshee’ is a great film aware of its greatness, but in its fantastic subtlety it falls into the problem of excessive theatricality and in its tendency to destruction it ends up being something improbable. Not a big deal, sure, but no one likes to get the magician’s trick while he’s still trying to make you believe in the illusion. Perhaps that is why the spectator, who swings between his support for one or the other, I ended up unconsciously taking the position of Pádraic’s sister.
In the escalation of events we never stop understanding each other, but at a point they are not even fighting for their friendship, their point of view or revenge, but for feeling something. In a state of utter loneliness, depression and coldness, the real search is for a feeling, whatever it is, in whatever form it comes. It is not difficult to understand these two leading characters in the most powerful relationship in recent years in cinema: they live among the ashes of a friendship that perhaps was never fire, and they just want to burn again. Even if you have to take it to the last consequences.
I think at this point in the Oscars race Needless to say, the great work of Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, who with his facial expression manages to evoke the feelings that his character is not capable of uniting with words. In ‘Inisherin’s Lost Souls’ everything fits and is taken care of to the extreme by a McDonagh who is more of an heir to ‘Hiding in Bruges’ than of ‘Three ads on the outskirts’ that he knows down to the last detail of two characters so complementary that they have no choice but to destroy each other.