Local student Brady Burkett shares his reviews of movies that have recently been shown, or will be shown, at the Fox Theatre on Queen Street East in the Beach.
By BRADY BURKETT
“How’s the despair?”
This has been an absolutely outstanding year for movies.
Now, to be entirely honest, I have probably watched more movies this year than I have any other in particular, it now being a job for me.
Still, though, so many absolutely incredible efforts from so many talented filmmakers, both respected veterans proving that they’ve still got it (Spielberg’s The Fabelmans) or up-and-coming talent coming out of nowhere and creating something spectacular (which will be discussed shortly).
That said, aside from the untouchably, impossibly spectacular masterpiece that is the Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once (the best movie of the year and one of my top three movies ever made), nothing has quite reached that coveted 10/10 rating, at least in my personal opinion. I’m told that I’m a tough grader, though.
Still, critically acclaimed movies have come and gone, receiving sevens or eights or, if they’re really excellent, nines from me. I save my 10 rating for something that comes along and feels truly special, something that entirely engrosses me from beginning to end, something that if not perfect (a nye-impossibility that no films have ever achieved, and most likely never will) comes damn near close. And at long, long last Martin McDonaugh’s new film The Banshees of Inisherin has come along and (spoiler alert!) fulfilled that criteria to a T.
Banshees is a dark comedy following two best friends, Colm and Pàdriac, living on the tiny island of Inisherin in Ireland during the 1920s.
One day, Colm abruptly ends the friendship on the grounds that Pàdriac is dull and that he wants some peace in his life in order to pursue his passion for playing the fiddle. As tensions gradually escalate, and the feud between the two grows stronger, the story begins to slowly descend further and further into chaos and tragedy.
It’s a brilliant premise, one that is simultaneously extremely funny and rather sad, which is an accurate description of the movies’ tone. The humor is sharp and consistent, but nonetheless dark and dry, contrasting with the miserable yet strangely beautiful raininess of the setting.
To begin with, the performances are all absolutely spectacular, down to Pàdriac’s miniature donkey. Colin Farrell steals the film and very possibly the Oscar for Best Actor as Pàdriac, selling every bit of the character’s tragic kindness, managing to make his facial expressions alone portray an entire personality.
Everyone else is not far behind, with Brendan Gleeson and Kerry Condon being both perfect as Colm and Pàdriac’s sister and only sane woman Siobhan respectively. Rounding everything out, Barry Keoghan gives an absolutely knockout performance as the pathetic, most likely mentally disabled Dominic.
Banshees’ pacing is fairly slow, but deliberately so, and it never feels as though the film is dragging or boring the audience. I can vouch for myself that I was engrossed throughout the entire duration, and this is thanks to the fantastic direction and pitch-perfect dialogue. The idiosyncratic, slightly repetitive way everyone talks to one another perfectly compliments the tone of the film, and every conversation or monologue remains entirely believable both in spite of and because of this.
The slow pace invites the viewer into the space, allowing them to get immersed in the strange beauty of this small, depressing island, making the fall into tragedy feel all the more visceral.
I’m rambling, but the point is that The Banshees of Inisherin absolutely fulfills the criteria for an almost perfect film. Any and all complaints that I could make about it are tiny nitpicks, and even then I’m not entirely sure that I have those.
Every performance is phenomenal, the direction is expert, the screenplay is magnificent, the pacing perfect. I want to discuss it in more detail, but to do so would be to spoil it, and that I do not want to do.
Rest assured, The Banshees of Inisherin receives my second 10 out of 10 rating.
The Fox Theatre is located at 2236 Queen St. E. The Banshees of Inisherin is playing on Jan. 6 at 6:30 p.m.; on Jan. 7 at 6:50 p.m.; on Jan. 8 at 6:15 p.m.; on Jan. 9 at 9:15 p.m.; on Jan. 10 at 3:40 p.m.; on Jan. 11 at 6:50 p.m.; and on Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. For more information on upcoming films playing at the Fox, please visit https://www.foxtheatre.ca
EDITOR’S NOTE: Brady Burkett is a local resident and high school student. The opinions in the reviews are his, and the reviews are not sponsored or vetted by the Fox Theatre.