Friday 27 January 2023

The Banshees of Inisherin - The Debate Rages

A debate seems to be brewing about the merits of Martin McDonagh's The Banshees of Inisherin. I got into a bit of a spat with someone on old codgers' FaceBook, who is insistent that Banshees is a masterpiece, and that anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant of film studies. Here's an extract of my opinion, in response to that individual (who, let it be said, I otherwise admire).

'Accolades and nominations mean very little, or mean precisely as much as people are prepared to invest in them. You, more than many people, should know how the PR machine works. I have worked as a film critic - not that I think that's what qualifies me to have an opinion on any film I see. I wrote on this forum at the time I saw Banshees: 'I enjoyed this, for the most part. Sparkling dialogue and great actorly performances. However, I prefer Martin McDonagh's non-Irish set movies - Three Billboards and In Bruges - to his typically 2nd generation London-Irish stage Irishry plays and films. To echo John Coltrane's remark to Miles Davis, I don't think he knew how to end it.' I've never fully bought into McDonagh's Western Gothic (the west of Ireland, that is), which lacks an emotional core. 'Let's laugh at the grotesques and their tragic lives.' Banshees will play well in the U.S. - thus the 'accolades and nominations'. Some Americans probably think that's exactly what Ireland was like. Like lots of films and TV shows I see now, production values and performances are impeccably high. It's the writing that leaves something to be desired.'