The Banshees of Inisherin, a movie by Martin McDonagh, is a dark comedy starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, who plays the roles of lifelong friends. The plot is set on an island off the Irish Coast during the Irish Civil War. There are metaphors all around, some quite obvious and some which require deeper insight. The movie captures the repercussions of breakups in the most ironic and exaggerated sense. The Banshees of Inisherin pendulums back and forth between comedy and tragedy, presenting life as a messy curve instead of a straight line. The realism hits home, and so does the acting.
Unexpected Heartbreak and Its Consequences
The movie is set on an imaginary Irish island, revolving around two bachelors who have been friends for years, Colm and Pádraic. Colm is going through a late-life crisis, believing he has lived a meaningless and unfruitful life. On this note, he suddenly decides to cut off all ties with Pádraic, who he thinks is a dull man, though they have been friends for years. Pádraic fails to comprehend this sudden change in his friend and begs for a reason. He pathetically keeps trying to revive their friendship, but Colm refuses to give in. What seems silly at first turns grave in just a few train of events, culminating in grievous losses.
Ramifications of Loneliness in The Banshees of Inisherin
Pádraic is someone who cannot suffer from loneliness because he has his sister and Jenny (his pet donkey). He is a cheerful and ‘nice’ character who does not hold many expectations from life and is satisfied effortlessly. On the other hand, we have Colm, who is a musician. Loneliness has given way to despair in him. Colm desires more from life, yet he recognizes that he has no legacy to leave behind. As a result, he loses his acquaintance with Pádraic because he is ‘dull’. Colm has a selfish frame of view. Siobhán, Pádraic’s sister, appears to be purposeless as well, but she manages it better than the others. Dominic is most likely the most lonely of all. He attempts to make connections, but no one likes him, which does not prevent him from making friends with Pádraic.
The Border of Sanity
This movie explores the mental trials and emotional rollercoaster ride all the characters go through. In search of peace, Colm pushes away his closest friend, whose friendship he finds to be of no purpose in his life. Pádraic, being the persistent and aloof character he is, keeps prodding Colm to maintain their friendship. Colm is forced to threaten Pádraic to show his seriousness. He threatens to cut one of his fingers every time Pádraic speaks to him. Here we can see Colm’s self-destructive tendencies emerge, and he begins to lose his grip. Pádraic exhibits equally absurd behavior when he continues to approach Colm, despite the finger being thrown at his door. Both of them linger on the edge of sanity, a push enough to tip over.
The Stages of Grief
Pádraic can be seen going through all five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. He enters true depression once his sister leaves for the mainland for her new job, and his pet donkey dies. He is left alone to his intrusive thoughts and does not even have Dominic’s company any longer. This is his breaking point when he no longer cares about being a ‘nice’ person.
The Banshees of Inisherin’s Ironical Twist
Pádraic, who everyone on the island keeps mentioning as a ‘nice’ man, is the main reason for all the tragic events that occur in the movie. The chopped fingers, Jenny’s death, to the act of arson. The so-called nice man was behind it all. This shows beyond doubt that once pushed to the edge – humanity may be lost.
The Banshees of Inisherin – Ending Explained
Colm finishes his piece of music and titles it ‘The Banshees of Inisherin‘ and is dancing with his dog when Pádraic walks in, inebriated. His last attempt to restore the friendship would have been successful until he mentioned driving Colm’s student away. Colm severed his last four fingers and tossed them around Pádraic’s house. Jenny chokes on one of the fingers and dies, leaving Pádraic in wrath and depression. He decides to set Colm’s house on fire, warning him. He keeps Colm’s dog safe with him as Colm’s house burns down with Colm inside it, ready to face death calmly.
Pádraic sees Colm at the beach the next morning. After all, it appears that he did not burn down with his house. They stand together watching the waves crashing into one another. “Suppose me house makes us quits”, Colm says to Pádraic in hopes to stop the war between them but Pádraic replies “If you’d stayed in your house”, implying that they will never become friends again and that he is over Colm. Colm apologizes for killing Jenny but Pádraic does not care anymore, he even says a bit later that “Somethings there’s no movin on from”.
The movie still manages to end on a pleasant note when Colm thanks Pádraic for looking after his dog to which he responds “Anytime” and walks away. Pádraic has finally moved on from his attachments and Colm will now have peace. It marked the end of a bittersweet friendship. The scene spans out to show Mrs. McComrmick watching them from a distance giving meaning to Colm’s song about which he remarks “If banshees are real, they may not even bother howling to warn of deaths anymore, and might simply stand by to watch people pass away”.