Since age-old times, we have been taught that heartbreak can only be caused when two people dating each other part ways because of some reason. No one has ever given importance to or emphasized the hurt and pain caused by broken friendships until recent times. A relationship may revolve around love, but does not a friendship too? Love comes in various forms after all.
Released on 21 October 2022, The Banshees of Inisherin is a tragic comedy that highlights the agony and torment of breakups amidst friends. What is more, it is written as well as directed by none other than Martin McDonagh, who is widely famous for his films such as Second Death (2000), Seven Psychopaths (2012), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) to name a couple.
It may be a comedy that will have you laughing tears at various scenarios, but it is also equally sad and heart-wrenching. We are talking about Martin McDonagh here after all! What else would one expect?!
The Banshees of Inisherin: Cast
Martin McDonagh teams up with Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell from In Bruges (2008). The two are seen playing the main roles of the two friends, Colm Doherty and Pádraic Súilleabháin, respectively. Kerry Condon, who is known for voicing F.R.I.D.A.Y. in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portrays the role of Siobhán Súilleabháin, Pádraic’s sister. The role of Dominic Kearney is played by none other than Barry Keoghan, who is known for his roles in Dunkirk (2017) and Marvel’s Eternals (2022). The other cast includes Aaron Monaghan playing Declan, Sheila Flitton depicting Mrs. McCormick, Bríd Ní Neachtain portraying Mrs. O’Riordan, and Pat Shortt as Jonjo Devine.
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The Banshees of Inisherin: Synopsis
After reading the above paragraphs, you must have a vague idea of the film’s storyline. Let’s see if you are on the right track! The story revolves around the friendship between two Irish men- Colm and Pádraic.
One unfortunate day, Colm decides that he no longer wishes to proceed with the friendship he shares with Pádraic. Bad news often comes unannounced and Pádraic’s world comes crashing to his feet when he hears this. He incessantly begs Colm and requests him to tell him what his fault could be. He must have done something right? Why else would Colm no longer want to be friends with him anymore?
Colm presents a rather surprising answer to Pádraic, disclosing that he merely did not like Pádraic anymore. It was not his fault. He requests Pádraic to lose all contact with him and part ways thereon. All the years spent together, all those bar visits, all those fond memories, all shoved down the drain as if they never meant anything to Colm. Heart-breaking, isn’t it? To mean so much to someone one moment and nothing the next. To know that you can never go back to the way it was. And it hurts, even more, when it is not your fault.
However, Pádraic refuses to give up on their bond, unlike Colm. He believes there is still hope and that he can find a way to make Colm understand. Pádraic seeks help from Siobhán, his sister and finds out that the reason why Colm was adamant about parting ways with him is that he finds him to be a monotonous and uninteresting guy whereas Colm believes himself to be quite ambitious and an aspiring musician.
When Pádraic confronts Colm, Colm states that parting ways with him has been a rather good decision as he has made fruitful utilization of the time he wasted away doing nothing with Pádraic. Even after hearing this Pádraic is relentless and tries to find opportunities to speak and spend time with him. Colm warns him that if Pádraic did not put an end to his futile efforts, he would chop off his left fingers one by one.
Now that Colm is gone, Pádraic has a new drinking buddy named Dominic, the local policeman’s son. Dominic convinces him that it is a good idea to call Colm’s bluff on the finger threat. Pádraic, drunk and out of his mind, accuses Colm of turning into a bad guy to which Colm answers that kindness is not something that will be remembered by anyone in the same way that a great musician’s music is remembered. The following day when Pádraic tries to apologize for all that he said in a drunken haze a day prior, Pádraic receives a rather shocking package; a severed index finger!
With only four fingers left, Colm teaches himself to play the fiddle once again. Pádraic learns from Dominic that Colm showed great liking towards his drunken scene and so, Pádraic decides to act all macho with Colm. Pádraic forces his way into Colm’s home, insisting that he speak with him. Colm reveals that the song he had been working on for ages is finally complete. Pádraic congratulates Colm on the successful completion of his big song, called “The Banshees of Inisherin.”
It almost feels like the two have rekindled their friendship until Pádraic drops a huge bomb- he made Colm’s musician friends leave by lying to them that his dad was on the verge of death! Colm is furious and goes on to sever the four remaining fingers which are then eaten by Jenny, Pádraic’s treasured donkey, who woefully chokes and dies.
The Banshees of Inisherin Ending Explained
Unlike most of the plots out there, no protagonist breathes their last breath towards the end. Although that does not mean that everything is all sunshine and rainbows for the characters.
Colm ends up severing all of his left-hand fingers when his friend does not take his warning seriously and refuses to leave him alone, Pádraic nurses a broken heart over the loss of his cherished donkey Jenny, who chokes on one of the severed fingers of Colm, and Dominic fails miserably in love as Siobhán turns his advances down and moves farther away, banishing any luck in the future. Dominic commits suicide and is found dead in the lake.
Why Did Colm Sever His Fingers?
This question is probably haunting everyone because the act of chopping off fingers made no sense, especially when Colm was an aspiring musician and needed the very same fingers he cut off to play the fiddle.
McDonagh does not present us with an answer to this question. However, that does not mean that there are no theories whirling around. As we all know that Colm is consumed by the need to leave a legacy behind which adds a lot of pressure on the poor guy. Severing his fingers could have been his way of letting himself off the hook by easing the stress of becoming a famous musician and blaming this on his friend Pádraic without having to be ashamed for giving up.
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Is the Quarrel Between Pádraic & Colm Over?
The quarrel between the two friends turned enemies is far from over. Blinded by vengeance, Pádraic sets Colm’s house on fire while he is inside. Colm survives the fire and apologizes for unintentionally killing Jenny. He expresses grief over Jenny’s death and states that he and Pádraic were even.
However, Pádraic does not agree. Pádraic has discarded his kind heart and believes that it is better to pursue a strategy of mutually assured destruction than to pursue peace. Although he took care of Colm’s dog whilst burning his house down, their friendship has been turned to ashes, with no hope for further rekindling anywhere to be found.
Martin McDonagh highlights the ugly and messy side that is birthed when a lasting friendship of years comes to an end. At times people say plenty of hurtful things to each other that they do not mean, and sometimes they do mean every single bit of it. People come, and people go. Not all are meant to stay permanently. Friendships and their deaths still remain an inevitable part of our lives nonetheless.
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