Archive for the ‘Martin McDonagh’ Category

The Five Fingered Friend

The Banshees of Inisherin

Director: Martin McDonagh

Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan, Pat Shortt, Aaron Monaghan

Running Time: 1 hour 54 minutes

Film Rating: 8.5 out of 10

From the acclaimed writer and director of In Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Edding, Missouri, Martin McDonagh reunites his In Bruges cast, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in a slightly dark comedy about friendship gone south, isolation and gossip in the brilliantly titled The Banshees of Inisherin.

Set exactly 100 years ago in 1923 in a small desolate island Inisherin off the coast of Ireland at the time just after the Irish War of Independence in 1922, this superbly scripted film focuses on the friendship between two men: Padriag Sulleabhain expertly played by Colin Farrell in a career best performance and the lonesome fiddler Colm Doherty played by Brendan Gleeson (Hampstead, Live by Night, Assassin’s Creed). Colin Farrell won the Best Actor Prize at the 2022 Venice International Film Festival.

On this beautiful but bleak island in this desolate place, Colm wakes up one morning and decides that the slightly simple Padraig is boring and decides not to talk to him anymore, foregoing any more afternoons at the local pub discussing the world’s problems over a pint of Guinness to while away the hours into the early evening. Naturally, Colm’s sudden snubbing of Padraig leaves the poor man devastated, but initially he thinks Colm is playing an April Fool’s Joke on him, but as the days drag on he realizes that Colm is deadly serious. 

Padraig tries to make sense of the situation while discussing things with his brighter sibling sister Siobhan excellently played by Kerry Condon (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). Siobhan has been looking after her brother for years but she yearns for a brighter literary career on the mainland to get away from all the mental and bitter people on Inisherin. Kerry Condon is absolutely superb as the no-nonsense Siobhan who realizes that what she really needs is to escape the island.

Meanwhile the sudden feud between Padriag and Colm escalates unexpectedly providing all the villagers something to gossip about. Padriag finds friendship with a simple young guy Dominic Kearney expertly played in an exceptional performance by rising actor Barry Keoghan (American Animals, The Batman) as a browbeaten tragic man trying to escape his brutal father.

What writer director Martin McDonagh does so expertly is peel back the layers of each of the four main characters and the motivations that drive them from spite to compassion, from a desire for freedom to the ideal of being left alone in artistic contemplation. What absolutely makes this film work although quite bizarre but equally plausible considering how tricky human relationships can be, is the brilliant acting by all four main actors set to haunting Irish music courtesy of Carter Burwell.

The Banshees of Inisherin is a top class film, a dark and brittle comedy about friendships that sour and superstition that becomes reality superbly played by four actors completely in tune with their characters and this fascinating narrative.

The Banshees of Inisherin gets a film rating of 8.5 out of 10 and is slow moving in parts but worth the wait in gold and Irish luck. Highly recommended viewing for those that enjoy an inventive character driven story, which is funny, sad and thought provoking.

You Rock Mildred Hayes

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Director: Martin McDonagh

Cast: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Peter Dinklage, Lucas Hedges, John Hawkes, Christopher Berry, Zeljko Ivanek, Sandy Martin, Amanda Warren

Oscar winner Frances McDormand (Fargo) gives another Oscar winning performance as the tough and angry Mildred Hayes in director Martin MCDonagh’s acerbic small town drama Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.

The In Bruges director paints a visceral picture of a small town populated with angry residents trapped by their own limited destinies as they battle to deal with grief, anger, death and divorce.

Featuring a phenomenally well placed cast, Three Billboards also contains stand out performances by Woody Harrelson as Chief Willoughby, Sam Rockwell as the rash and violent mama’s boy cop Dixon, who exudes pent-up aggression in his posture.

There are a host of smaller roles notably played by Peter Dinklage as James, Oscar nominee John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) as Mildred’s abusive ex-husband Charlie who has run off with a nineteen year old and Caleb Landry Jones (American Made, Get Out) as the Ebbing advertising manager Red Welby who unknowingly rents out the Billboards.

At the centre of this brittle portrayal of small town America is Frances McDormand as Mildred who is still grieving the rape and murder of her daughter Angela, a case still unsolved by the Ebbing police department.

Their bureaucratic ineptitude prompts Mildred to hire out Three Billboards which cast blame on Chief Willoughby and his team including Dixon and Desk Sergeant played Zeljko Ivanek.

Mildred’s anger and her constant profanity to the town’s population causes her relationship with her young son, Robbie, superbly played by Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) to deteriorate.

Without giving away an intricate plot, Mildred’s main battle comes up against Dixon, a tightly wound on point performance by Sam Rockwell who deservedly won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Martin McDonagh’s profane script and lively characters should have earned him an Oscar for best original screenplay but more significantly he managed to cast just the right actors in this drama which exemplify all the prejudice, bitterness and anger of being trapped in small town America which has lost touch with current socio-political trends sweeping the major cities.

Three Billboards is a powerful indictment of complacency, a brutal commentary about the violence perpetrated against women everywhere, a lot of which goes unpunished especially in provincial settings like Ebbing, Missouri which are sealed off from the nerve centres of cosmopolitan cities by their paucity and lack of economic opportunities.

It’s a relevant film about vengeance, grief and guilt, sharpened by Frances McDormand’s superb performance as Mildred Hayes who takes the law into her own hand, challenging authority and disrupting the status quo by hiring Three Billboards to show up the law enforcement as being incompetent idiots.

Three Billboards is highly recommended viewing, which will surely be discussed in years to come as a nerve-wracking examination of gender and social dynamics in localized communities.

The Oscar winning Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri gets a film rating of 9 out of 10.

 

 

 

 

71st BAFTA Awards

THE  71st BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 18th February 2018 in London at the Royal Albert Hall

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

Best Film: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

Outstanding British film: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri directed by Martin McDonagh

Best Actor: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

Best Actress: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Rising Star Award: Daniel Kaluuya

Best Visual EffectsBlade Runner 2049

Best Production Design: The Shape of Water

Best Adapted Screenplay: James Ivory – Call Me by Your Name based upon the novel by Andre Aciman

Best Original Screenplay: Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Editing: Baby Driver

Best Costume Design: Phantom Thread

Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat – The Shape of Water

Best Hair and Makeup: Darkest Hour

 

 

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