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The Banshees of Inisherin ★★★★

Martin McDonagh

Starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan, Jon Kenny, Pat Shortt

Martin Mc 'Feckin' Donagh teams up with Colin 'Feckin' Farrell and Brendan 'Feckin' Gleeson once again after the success of 2008's In Bruges to bring a hilarious, devastating and simple story about two men falling out of love.

Pádraic (Farrell) and Colm (Gleeson) have been best mates all their lives. But one day, Colm decides that he's had enough of Pádraic; that he doesn't like him anymore and finds him dull. So their usual meet at 2pm down the pub turns sour, and becomes darker and darker.

That's it! That's the plot. Yes, there are allegorical things going on underneath concerning the Irish Civil war, but as far as the plot goes there's not much of it...and that's not a bad thing.

With a stunning choral opening, we are transported to the dull island of Inisherin, a place where nothing much happens and everything works like clockwork. Yet somehow on the surface of its' regimented routines, McDonagh and cinematographer Ben Davis capture beauty in every single frame, whether in the rolling hills of a picturesque location or in the faces of two curious goats. For the most part, this film puts a smile on your face, and creates genuine laugh-out-loud moments that are so subtle (one visual gag in particular involving a handful of cash is ingenious).

As the characters become darker so does the tone, and the comedy lessens with every ticking minute. And in the end as one thing changes in a man's seemingly perfect life, everything else comes crashing down around him.

Various things make reference to the not so dissimilar world we live in today, whether through whisperings of misogyny in a male-dominated world or glimmers of authoritative power abuse. But the theme that stands out most is the struggle of a soul who doesn't know how to express their feelings; it's heartbreaking.

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are exquisite. Both have different notes to play and they're always played with ease, and so differently from the duo we're used to seeing them portray. With supporting performances from a brilliantly childlike Barry Keoghan and a superb Kerry Condon, this is a performing masterclass.

Loneliness and despair lead two friends into the fires of a war that has started for no real reason. And although expectations rise slightly too high, the scope does not, it stays right in its comfortable pocket and delivers a truly hilarious yet desolating tune of solitude. It's Feckin' great!

The Banshees of Inisherin available in cinemas now

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