Top Ten Movies of 2022 — Number Three

I don’t think it’s mere happenstance that the simplest and gentlest of Martin McDonagh’s four feature films is also far and away his best. I’ll admit that letting the descriptor “gentle” anywhere near The Banshees of Inisherin seems like a misappropriation of terminology given the bleakness of flung digits, exploding bombs across the bay, and multiple people living in the general misery of unrealized dreams. It is only through comparisons to the more caustic predecessors that the film looks idyllic, though the ample widescreen shots of the verdant Irish countryside make their own contribution to the mellower tone. McDonagh’s film manages the nifty trick of being warm and prickly at the same time, the former quality perhaps attributed to the deeply lived-in performances by Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, and Barry Keoghan, each of them instilling the long ache of personal history into their work. The Banshees of Inisherin finds the wry humor in tough topics, including the persistent futility of conflict and the wearying fear of hourglass sands draining away when there’s still so very much to do. Hope might be fleeting, but there’s beauty to be found in the ruefulness, too.

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