Martin McDonagh does it again.

Today’s film is The Banshees of Inisherin, a film I will warn right up front is not a movie to show someone who only likes happy films. I like happy films, but I also have a good love for movies that make me feel dead inside when I’m done watching them. See The Pale Blue Eye for example. But while I haven’t seen Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, I did watch Seven Psychopaths from director Martin McDonagh back in 2012 and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Can The Banshees of Inisherin hold up?

Sure can.

Set on the island of Inisherin just outside Ireland and during the end of the Irish Civil War, The Banshees of Inisherin follows the life of Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell), a simple farmer who lives a simple life on a simple island with his not as simple sister. He’s not a particularly smart man, but he enjoys the simple life with his farm animals, his cigarettes, and his routine trips to the pub for a pint. He finds his life turned upside down when one day his oldest and pretty much only friend Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) gives him an ultimatum; stop talking to me or I’ll chop my own fingers off to punish you for bothering me.

It’s a simple premise for a simple world. Inisherin obviously is not a real island in Ireland, but it gives McDonagh the ability to give a glimpse at old country living and the lives of the people who inhabit it. You have Pádraic’s sister Siobhán Súilleabháin (Kerry Condon) who grows increasingly resentful for the small island life while Pádraic himself thinks it’s just dandy. Barry Keoghan plays a great role as Dominic Kearney, something of the island idiot who is always getting into trouble and getting beaten by his father Peadar (Gary Lydon).

I’m specifically happy to see Barry Keoghan in this film, given his recent involvement in Eternals and appearance in The Batman as Joker. It’s safe to say that Colin Farrell has the acting chops and career to continue appearing in smaller, more intelligent films while ping-ponging between big budget shit like Dumbo and big budget hits like The Batman. The same goes for Brendan Gleeson who can pull off being in The Tragedy of Macbeth the same year as Riverdance: The Animated Adventure. What the Christ.

The setting of Inisherin also reinforces the calmness and dullness of island life, as the characters have front row seats to the finale of the Irish Civil War. Life on Inisherin might be dull, but at least it means the island never gets involved in the constant conflict on the mainland, and that has to be worth something right? But the movie is about Pádraic’s desperate attempts to get his friend back and inability to get the message, as while harsh you do understand Colm’s motivation in ditching his old friend.

It’s a fantastically bleak film and one that doesn’t particularly feel its nearly two hour runtime. Check it out.

Rating: A