The gang’s back together with the reunion of In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh and stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin. From Searchlight Pictures, the film took home two awards from its premiere at the Venice Film Festival (Best Screenplay for Martin McDonagh, Volpi Cup for Best Actor for Colin Farrell) and is nominated for eight Golden Globes, with a handful of Oscar nominations expected. With its limited theatrical release coming to a close, the film arrived today on Blu-Ray for film fans to experience an instant classic wherever they live.
It’s a quiet life for the residents of Inisherin, a small isle shielded from the Irish Civil War. When local folk musician Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) decides he no longer wants to be acquainted with his longtime friend and local farmer Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell), everything is thrown off balance. As Colm tries to write a song that will become his legacy, he threatens the self-mutilation of his left hand if Pádraic doesn’t leave him alone. Mud, and a few digits, will be flung in this story about the death of a friendship.
Martin McDonagh’s exploration of relationships is disturbingly fun to watch in a film branded a “tragicomedy.” At the center is the platonic divorce of two friends, both of whom are unmarried men of little means. Pádraic lives with his unwed sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), and his pet donkey Jenny, both of whom fill his heart while neither can replace the camaraderie of Colm. Similarly, Siobhán rebukes the proposal of her only prospective suitor (Barry Keoghan, Eternals), a much younger man and the son of the isle’s peacekeeper (Gary Lydon). As for the titular banshees, it’s left to the viewer to decide who they are. The film’s title is the name of the composition Colm creates, but the friend’s quarrel could also be likened to the shrieks, and then there’s the elderly woman (Sheila Flitton) who mutters premonitions.
Like all of his films, Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin leaves you with food for thought. As awards season draws nearer, this is one that film buffs will want to watch. The film is currently streaming on HBO Max, but this review covers the Blu-Ray/Digital combo release, both of which offer the opportunity to go beyond the film through an assortment of bonus features.
- Creating The Banshees of Inisherin (17:49) – Go into the inimitable mind of director-writer Martin McDonagh as he delves into The Banshees of Inisherin, from story inception and reunion of its gifted actors, to searching the islands of Ireland for the perfect, evocative locations.
- Deleted Scenes (4:49)
- Chasing Colm
- Colm Can't Compose
- Parents' Grave and Peadar
- Siobhan Crying Too Loud
- Stoic Equals Boring
The Banshees of Inisherin retains its theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The HD Blu-Ray presentation handles the film’s gorgeous cinematography well, with bright green and blue hues for the film’s saturated moments creating a lot of depth on the screen. These are in stark contrast to the drab, almost colorless interiors, where the characters retreat to wallow in self-pity.
The primary audio mix on the Blu-Ray disc is an English 5.1 DTS-HDMA track. Ambient sounds and score fill the rear channels, but your aural attention is primarily drawn to the front channels to keep you focused on the on-screen drama. The only other audio option is an English Descriptive 2.0 Dolby Digital mix. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, and French.
Packaging & Design
This one-disc release comes in a standard Blu-Ray case. There’s no disc art, no slipcover, and the only insert is a digital copy code redeemable through Movies Anywhere. The disc doesn’t contain any trailers and the static menu merely repeats the artwork on the front cover set to score.
Unlike a banshee, I can’t say if The Banshees of Inisherin will sweep the Academy Awards, but it’s easy to see why it’s expected to be a top contender in multiple categories. The quality craftsmanship of every filmmaking discipline is on display here, from the brilliant performances, cinematography, and costumes seen on screen, to the writing and directing happening off-camera. With its theatrical release never expanding over 1,000 screens, this Blu-Ray offers the best available picture and sound for film fans who couldn’t make it to a major city to see it on the big screen.
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