Martin McDonagh’s outstanding black comedy, The Banshees of Inisherin, proves why he is one of the most acclaimed playwrights and director. As the 2022 tragic comedy film premiered, it left audiences laughing with broken hearts.
Notably, the movie is one of his most layered and thought-provoking ventures yet and was also nominated for multiple awards.
It also garnered critical acclaim for Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson’s performances and McDonagh’s brilliantly dark and witty script. With all the appraise, the audience was confused as the movie ended. However, in the movie, it was seen that Gleeson’s Colm Doherty seemed to represent the Irish Free State and Farrell’s Pádraic, the Irish Republican Army. Along with this, the movie’s ending is indeed very unique as it touches upon real-life situations.
The Banshees of Inisherin explores the tragedy of fractured relationships between the main characters and the generational feud that can spark through cynicism and petty squabbling.
The film’s conclusion is sour, as Pádraic speaks to Colm despite the latter repeatedly warning him that he would sever his own fingers if he did so. With their brawl coming to an end, Pádraic informs his former friend that Colm’s debt won’t be settled until one of them is dead.
Elevated by the backdrop of the war working alongside the closed story of a deteriorating friendship, McDonagh’s ending connotates a dire and chilling sense of hopelessness through the film’s context and plot.
At the end of the movie, when Colm thanks Pádraic for looking after his dog, he replies, “Any time.” Their conversation doesn’t seem like a hint that things will go any way back to normal.
In the movie, Gleeson’s Colm Doherty tries to cement an artistic legacy for himself by abandoning niceness. However, this leads Pádraic to note that Colm sees nothing wrong with befriending a child-abusing corrupt cop while refusing to speak to Pádraic because he is “dull.”
Even during the confessionals with the town priest, it becomes clear that Colm has been in a sort of existential depression.
He got the creeping sense of his time running out and projected much of this existential anxiety onto Pádraic, viewing him as “dull” and “dim.” He began to learn that the best way to rectify this was to cut off ties with Pádraic for good and dedicate the rest of his life to his music.
Colm and Pádraic are the two main characters of the movie and are stand-ins for the Irish Civil War (1922-1923). With Colm seeming to represent the Irish Free State and Pádraic, the Irish Republican Army, the movie uses their conflict as a metaphor for the war. It all led to the resulting ideological divide that continues to this day, over 100 years later.
The story of McDonagh’s dark comedy was a metaphor for the real divide within Ireland after the Civil War. The Irish Free State and IRA did not re-integrate in a healthy way as they stayed at odds for decades.
Notably, the tensions have continued to this very day, as the movie’s ending was akin to a real-life situation.
In the movie, Colm has his dog, and Pádraic has his donkey. During the climax of the movie, Pádraic burns Colm’s house down in a bid for revenge after his beloved donkey is killed. He did this after the animal choked on his former friend’s dismembered fingers, not caring if Colm was inside.
Interestingly, Jenny the Donkey was actually played by two donkeys in real life, Jenny and Rosie, in The Banshees of Inisherin.
In the movie, Martin McDonagh intertwines the life of a simple islander with the narrative that surrounds him. The story of the movie gave audiences a lesson in the sensitivity and principles of humanity and history alike. It is a scaled-down interpretation of the Irish Civil War where Colm is the Irish Free State and Pádraic is the IRA.
The conflict between the main characters reimagines the beginning of the Civil War through its conclusion and the lasting impact it had on Ireland.
What Is the Mistake In The Banshees of Inisherin?
Martin McDonagh served up a masterclass but made a few mistakes that came to notice by a few movie and history enthusiasts. According to IMDB, Brendan Gleeson’s Colm Doherty used the term “it takes two to tango,” which originated much later in 1952 in a popular song interpreted by Pearl Bailey.
What caused the mistake was the movie takes place in 1923, many years before the term originally came.
Let us know in the comments what you think about The Banshees of Inisherin. Do you think the characters could have sought their differences?
The Banshees of Inisherin is available to stream on Hulu.