WHAT I LIKED: Martin McDonagh's 'The Banshees of Inisherin,' is one of those quiet, profound films that strips characters of typical distractions and concerns to force them to contemplate the point of putting one foot in front of the other.
Set on a remote, fictional Irish Island in the 1920s, it follows two lonely best mates who have very little to do on the daily at the best of times, but then one (Brendan Gleeson's Colm) miraculously decides to stop being friends with the other (Colin Farrel's Padraic). At first, that's both intriguing and amusing, as we watch Padraic become increasingly irate and confused as he tries to figure out why. But eventually things turn heartbreaking and sour as he struggles with the realisation that his closest friend with whom he used to while away the days has decided to focus his time on playing the fiddle instead.
Colm wants to leave some kind of legacy as he ages, and he thinks chatting with Padraic is a distraction and a waste of time, but Padraic's main source of joy was those conversations at the pub. Even his sister (Rebecca Ferguson) and pet donkey can't console him, and the loneliness drives him crazy because he thinks life is all about friendship, joy and "niceness." I've rarely wanted to give a character a hug and sit a pair down for a heart to heart as much as I did watching this film, but the beauty of it is that what they're feeling and thinking is rarely discussed overtly so it's up to us to uncover and empathise.
Ultimately though, it's a battle of two ideals; one that life is about legacy, and one that life is about living; an existential conflict that's put into perspective all the more by the island nutter who constantly mutters in the background about death and suicide. You'll be left anxious, hoping that Padraic's take wins out, but, not wishing to spoil, the final conclusion is a quiet, wonderful release of that tension.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: What it does, it does perfectly.
VERDICT: Martin McDonagh's 'The Banshees of Inisherin,' strips its two characters of their usual mundane routine to have them question the point in living. The result is amusing, touching and profound.