MARK JUDGE: Culture, Country and Honor Really Do Matter. This New Film Shows Us Why.

The Banshees of Inisherin, the great new film from writer/director Martin McDonagh, is superficially about a broken friendship. The plot involves two old friends, one of whom decides he doesn’t want to talk to the other anymore. Their collapsed friendship has been described as a metaphor for Ireland during that country’s civil war in 1923, the year the film is set.

This is true up to a point, but the critics have missed what I think is the deeper meaning of this fine movie. The Banshees of Inisherin is a film about the dishonor of those who sit out the battles, both literal and cultural, that define their times.

The story: Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson), a man in his mid 60s, has stopped talking to his younger friend Pádraic Súilleabháin (Colin Farrell), with whom he had been friends for twenty years. Colm describes Pádraic as a “nice guy” who is nevertheless “dull.” Colm wants to spend whatever time he has left on Inisherin, the small island off the coast of western Ireland, trying to compose a song on his fiddle. He’s trying to do something that will outlast him. The rest is blarney.

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