Where I Watched it: HBo MAX
English Audio Description Provided By: Deluxe
Narrated By: Nicole Sansorella
Just a few years ago, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MO was either my favorite film of that year, or runner-up. I distinctly remember that ranking. I think I loved the film more than most, admittedly, but I found it well written, and oddly entertaining considering the subject material. plus, how can you be mad at the film that finally got Sam Rockwell not just an Oscar nomination (his first), but also the win. So overdue.
Banshees is likely in a very same position, as it will likely lead to Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson finally getting Oscar nominations. Two actors that feel like they’ve been nominated before, but actually haven’t. And, if he’s truly lucky, director Martin McDonagh will get his first directing nomination. And all of this, off of what is another very odd, yet very entertaining work of art.
Banshees is unapologetically Irish, centering itself in 1923 on the island of inusharon against the backdrop of the Irish civil war. While the residents of this sleepy isle may not be directly in combat, they do find themselves taking sides in the silliest of wars when one man (Gleeson) just decides he no longer wants to be friends with another (Farrell), without warning, and initially without explanation. Hell, even when you get the explanation, it’s not a great one. It just goes to underscore the rather unnecessary quality of the entire squabble, as it bleeds into real life consequences, with things happening that can’t be undone or taken back.
It’s a dark comedy, as Gleeson seeks to leave behind some kind of legacy but is willing to almost literally cut off his nose to spite his face in the process. To show his seriousness, he results to self harm, but in a way that actually harms the result he’s looking to achieve personally more than it does Farrell. Farrell, meanwhile plays a man baffled by this development, desperate to find a way to turn this stubborn man back around, and when it becomes clear that is impossible, he also has a rather scorched earth approach to this friendship.
In the middle of this is Carrie Condon, playing sister to Farrell’s character, and doing a brilliant supporting turn, adding a level of independence and ferocity as a woman not to be trifled with, who also seems to be the voice of reason in all of this. Critics have gone nuts for Barry Keough’s performance, but it just didn’t register for me. Perhaps because the other three were doing such tremendous work, and his screentime does not come close to the other three, though he does offer some humor.
As these friends battle, off in the distance, we see smoke rising from a real war. Explosions are heard. and yet on inusharon, one man just wants to be left alone, and another just can’t understand why. It is such an interesting character study, and an expression of friendship, that the movie itself becomes so powerful in its execution. It feels almost like a trifle itself, but it’s not. It’s so much more.
The audio description here was terrific, focusing on these actors performances, and the lush Irish landscape. of course, as there become things that happen to our characters, physically, we need the audio description for that as well, not to mention a miniature donkey that is in many scenes in the film, and is important to the overall story.
Once again, i find myself praising the work of Martin McDonagh, and putting his film very likely in my top 10, and probably near the top. I highly recommend The Banshees Of inusharon, and I think it’s one of the easiest recommendations I’ve made, as I think it’s one of the most accessible Oscar films this year.
Final Grade: A