The Banshees Of Inisherin: 7 Random Thoughts I Had Watching The Oscar Contender

Sometimes, there are movies that just stick with you and won’t let go no matter how much time passes or how much try to block it out of your brain. It doesn’t happen all that often to me, but when it does, like in the case of The Banshees of Inisherin, it completely consumes me at all hours of the day. It’s a wonderful problem, as the 2023 Academy Award-nominated film was one of the best films of 2022 and perhaps of the past decade.

Ever since I watched Martin McDonagh’s gripping black comedy about two longtime pals on an island off the Irish coast coming to terms with the sudden and mysterious dissolution of their friendship I’ve been thinking about the movie, the performances, and all sorts of other things. And since I’m in a position to write down those thoughts, I thought I’d do so. Here are seven random thoughts I had while watching The Banshees of Inisherin.

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

I Could Watch Colin Farrell And Brendan Gleeson All Day

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, who first appeared alongside one another in Martin McDonagh’s 2008 black comedy, In Bruges, have one of the most charming friendships in show business today, a relationship that has been highlighted in recent months with appearances on Saturday Night Live and a touching CBS Sunday Morning interview. And though the pair play two characters who go from best friends to mortal enemies over the course of two hours, the chemistry between them is really what drives the whole movie.

I mean, I could watch the two Oscar contenders all day and never tire of it. Maybe it’s because this is only their second movie together (first in more than a decade), or it could have something to do with how well-written and well-acted the characters were in the film. Regardless, this pairing is one for the ages and one that will surely be talked about for years to come.

Brendan Gleeson as Colm Doherty in The Banshees of Inisherin

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Few Movies Capture The Feeling Of Small Town Life Better Than The Banshees Of Inisherin

Though I have never spent time in a small village off the coast of Ireland, I did live in a small (formerly unincorporated) farm town for a few years, and The Banshees of Inisherin perfectly captures the feeling of small town life, better than most, in fact. This is not to say the small town where I once lived was home to a bitter feud between two former friends where one cut off his fingers one by one and threw them at the other’s door, but a lot of the characters – the priest, the pub owner, the noisy and opinionated shop keep – had equivalents, as is the case for thousands of similar towns, villages, hamlets, and townships.

Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

I Didn’t Think Pádraic And Colm’s Falling Out Would Go So Far, But It Did

What starts out as a simple “I just don’t like you no more” from Colm Doherty early on in the film quickly devolves into a grueling, and at times, hard to watch, falling out between he and friend Pádraic Súilleabháin. The various trailers teased a scene about halfway through where the talented violinist threatened to cut off his fingers if the dim-witted and dull Pádraic didn’t leave him be, I didn’t think he would actually follow through with those claims. But he did. He did and then he did some more.

The whole situation is like a snowball rolling down a hill. Starts off innocently enough, but given enough time and momentum, you have yourself a disaster in the making, and that’s just what happens.

Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Martin McDonagh’s Ability To Create Tragedy And Comedy While Not Sacrificing Either Is Incredible

The term “tragicomedy” has been used to describe this movie, and I honestly think there’s no better way to talk about it. Similar to what he did with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh manages to create tragedy and comedy in his latest effort without sacrificing either, which isn’t easy to do. There were times throughout where I couldn’t stop laughing from the absurdity of the situation while others left me racked with guilt for having a chuckle moments earlier. 

Barry Keoghan in The Banshees of Inisherin

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Does Barry Keoghan Ever Miss?

There’s a strong case to be made for Barry Keoghan being one of the best young actors in Hollywood today. I mean, if you look at his list of best movies, you’ll see titles like Dunkirk, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and now The Banshees of Inisherin. He has this aura about him that immediately makes me stop what I’m doing and watch him on screen, and I just can’t get enough of it. 

Even when he shows up briefly in The Green Knight and The Batman, he’s instantly the most interesting person on screen, and his characters are those I look forward to revisiting with each rewatch. Just give this man all the awards.

Kerry Condon standing in a red coat

(Image credit: Searchlight)

Siobhán (Kerry Condon) Being Above It All Was Great And Added Another Level To The Movie’s Incredible Story

Another bright spot is Siobhán Súilleabháin (Kerry Condon), Pádraic’s sister who seems to be only person in the small village who is above the movie’s central conflict and the attitudes of the townsfolk in general. This desire to not get too wrapped up in the lives of her fellow villagers (as well as keeping them out of her own affairs) adds another level to the story, and also creates some of its most touching moments, especially her letters back and forth with her brother.

Also, I should note, the way in which she says “fecking” all the time is up there with some of the best cursing in movies I’ve seen in a long time, and will hopefully be remembered for years to come. 

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in The Banshees Of Inisherin

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

In Fact, I Honestly Wouldn’t Be Surprised If The Movie Swept The Oscars

The Banshees of Inisherin is up for a total of nine Academy Awards, and honestly, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if it swept the Oscars. Not only is this one of Brendan Gleeson’s best movies, but it also features one of the most captivating performances of Colin Farrell’s career, as well as great showings by the supporting cast (who carry a lot of the weight), but Martin McDonagh’s direction and screenplay, and even Carter Burwell, who worked on some of the best Coen Brothers movies, did an incredible job of crafting the movie’s rich score. 

Only three films have swept the Oscars – It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Silence of the Lambs – and it hasn’t happened in more than 30 years, so we’re more than due.

If you want to watch The Banshees of Inisherin streaming after going on this little journey with me, you can do so right now with an HBO Max subscription. And don’t forget to check out the 2023 movie schedule to see when next year’s potential Oscar nominees will come out.

Stream The Banshees of Inisherin on HBO Max.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.