Banshees of Inisherin & Ruby

Walking gets me thinking, and I contemplated Martin McDonagh‘s film up for this year’s Oscars. I’ll bet the Irish board of tourism thanks McDonagh for his beautiful film showing the very best of Irishness. Too stereotypical? No one seems to be complaining. I know after watching Belfast, I had no desire to go there. But I’d pack my bags to stay for a spell in western Ireland. Though McDonagh’s film was nominated for plenty, I was shocked it was not for the Best Cinematography category. Here is why:

Blue Ridge Parkway, Peaks of Otter lake. Love the off-season. Ruby can run around all she likes.

I know, I know. Just because a film’s location is pretty, it does not mean the cinematography is great. But the themes of loneliness and despair, central to Pádraic and Colm’s personalities, are manifestations of their surroundings. From the opening/ending shot of the heavenly clouds and ray beams to the stone, patchwork fields to the birds, animals, pets, and Celtic statues, to the varying weather patterns of light and dark and rain–every scene embraces its natural environment. Inside this mystical bubble are the people to which the environment dictates. Not just the main characters. The bizarre ensemble represents the ancient marriage of folklore and tradition. They are a part of their environment as a single organism. This striking film is magical because of the cinematography.

Ruby is giddy to take her first swim of the year.

Another aspect I loved are the women in the movie. Not much has been said about them, but I find their presence more interesting than the relationship between Pádraic and Colm. The women observe their male counterparts like teachers in a schoolyard of pouty, manipulative, bully boys. Their exasperation is understandable. The success of the movie is the sister of Pádraic played by Kerry Condon. She is the only character who understands if she stays on the island she will disintegrate and dares to leave. The nosy shopkeeper vies for gossip–anything to keep boredom away–for what else is there? My favorite character in the movie is the banshee herself, the ghoulish witch whose omnipresence provides the heathen wisdom on the island predicting accurately the events. A death indeed. Poor, Jenny.

Clear and cold, she couldn’t care less. Throwing sticks for her to fetch is her favorite game.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Collin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Their chemistry as a comedic duo is reminiscent of a bygone era when laughs came from their banter and facial expressions, including bushy eyebrows. Laurel and Hardy come to mind.

The silly girl is obsessed with rolling on her back wherever we go. I think it’s the grass. She couldn’t do this in Arizona.

What did you think of the quirky plot twist with Colm’s way of solving the problem of his chatty friend? Did it ruin it for you? Or were you entranced with the story like me? What becomes of Colm? Do you think they become roommates?

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