The beefiest Irish in Hollywood return home for a play of ostentatious minimalism and boring folklore, despite some good leads.
1923 in a small island village not far from the Irish coast. In the distance the gunpowder of civil war rumbles, but here there is nothing to do except earn one’s tithe and spend it on drink. Pádraic, an honest drunkard, puts up with it willingly, but not Colm, his old drinking companion who, overnight, decides not to speak to him anymore: the years that remain to him, he prefers to devote them to composing music. music, in order to leave a mark on the world other than that of yet another nameless drinker.
Bringing together the winning trio of Kisses from Brugesnamely Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Martin McDonagh behind the camera, The Banshees of Inisherin finds himself propelled to the front of the pack for the season of ceremonies (nine nominations for Golden Globes), based on a very theatrical formula of cinema: a strongly supported unity of place (the island, its pub, its beach, its three shacks), and a historic setting that crackles in the distance like a stage set, bringing if not a form of density, at least a heavy value of metaphor (ah, why these two Irishmen suddenly refuse to speak to each other!) to the quarrel of these two “mastodons” in ultra-composition, who await their Oscar like others before them Godot.
There is something of the order of luxury neo-pagnolade (let’s say Daniel Auteuil/Jean-Pierre Darroussin as the cast of transposition) in the relationship that the film has with Ireland, and the very emphatic, even forced way that he has, in each scene, to remind us of this by nimbly pointing out particular geographical, linguistic (the title and the unpronounceable names), slang (Farrell and his incessant “fecking”), mythological (the “banshee”, witch characteristic island folklore), leaving us with the unpleasant suspicion that he would have much more to prove to us than to tell us.
This picturesque artificial, tailor-made for a handful of big names in search of typicality, offers a fake setting for the subplots that the film takes very seriously: Colm’s poetic aspirations, like Siobhán’s dreams from elsewhere, Pádraic’s reading-loving sister, do not pass for very sincere and inhabited, and rather have the effect of thematic trinkets or script reflexes.
Where these Banshees of Inisherin could hold something, it is on the motif of the village idiot, a theme both grotesque and tragic which gives relief to the only really interesting face to face of the film: that which opposes Pádraic and the young Dominic, in swampy scenes of stupidity and alcohol where the film sometimes seems to sink into a more authentic madness, and free itself from its big strings. If the film makes a success of the ceremonial course that one promises to him, Barry Keoghan (in addition next interpreter of Joker) could make an Oscar winner more daring than the big names that hold the poster here.
The Banshees of Inisherin by Martin McDonagh, on December 28 at the cinema.
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What is “The Banshees of Inisherin”, favorite at the Oscars? – Les Inrocks