Thoughtful exterior, vapid soul. A gorgeous-looking film that fails to deliver any substantive meaning or motivation behind anything that occurs in this ominous snoozefest. The Banshees of Inisherin is another 2020s cinema example of what happens when filmmakers fail to follow screenwriting conventions like a clearly defined external goal for the central character, supported by an internal need or motivation, and clearly defined opposition to the external goal. Furthermore, “a [day] in the life of…” is neither a plot nor a goal. The first act of the film holds hostage nearly half the screentime. And when something finally happens, the motivation behind it lacks any logic or rational reasoning. The outside/action story is nearly non-existent. Filmmakers should remember that a film can have depth, dimension, and deeper meaning BUT those layers should never take the place of a clearly defined linear or nonlinear plot map. Diegetic accessibility is important, even in more thoughtful films. Undoubtedly, this will become one of those films that pretentious cinephiles defend by the cliche “you just didn’t get it.” While the film looks gorgeous and the attempt to parallel the civil war between two (former) friends to the real-world Irish Civil War of the 1920s is intriguing, writer-director Martin McDonagh struggles to establish a plot to support the story he wants to tell. None of the characters are likable nor are the performances exceptional. Extreme/manic behavior does not a compelling character make. In many ways, this film reminds me of a more coherent The Lighthouse. So, if you enjoyed The Lighthouse, then you may enjoy this movie. The Banshees of Inisherin feels like a vanity project that means something to the filmmaker, but holds little value or meaning for the audience. Contrary to the accolade associated with this film, it is one of the most boring break-up movies ever made.
Ryan teaches Film Studies and Screenwriting at the University of Tampa and is a member of the Critics Association of Central Florida. If you like this article, check out the others and FOLLOW this blog! Interested in Ryan making a guest appearance on your podcast or contributing to your website? Send him a DM on Twitter. If you’re ever in Tampa or Orlando, feel free to catch a movie with him.
What did I just watch??? I still haven’t a clue, but it was sure beautiful to look at. The Lighthouse is visually stunning, brilliantly edited, and the performances are mindblowingly fantastic! There’s only one small problem–well, more like a big problem–there is no plot. Audiences will be left in the dark on this one. Roger Eggers was so busy focussing on the visual elements of the film (don’t get me wrong, that is very important) but I think he needed his own lighthouse to provide direction for the writing because the plot got lost at sea. No to be too blunt, but The Lighthouse is a directorial masterbatory exercise of film as a visual medium. The story, if you want to call it that, is more poetic than diegetic. Meaning, the story is emotionally driven versus action or even character driven. There lacks any narrative in the traditional sense, but much like a poem, there is visual imagery ripe for interpretation. I equate this film with a painting or sculpture in a museum. We may not know precisely what the artist intended, but we can read our own interpretation into the work of art. Therefore, that artwork holds special meaning for us. You can say the same thing about The Lighthouse. While there is not a plot to follow, the imagery will mean different things to different people. For bibliophiles, you will undoubtedly identify the Odyssey elements in the film, which I thought were great! What we have here is the poster child of an auteur’s film. There was such a focus on the art of visual storytelling that the actual story was nearly left out. And by story, I am referring to plot specifically. Even the great Cecil B. DeMille knew the importance of a motion picture with a story, “the greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling.” With such powerful imagery, expertly crafted and arranged in a brilliant fashion that intrigues and assaults the eyes all at the same time, I would have loved to have seen a well-developed plot that could have elevated the spectacle of the film to an experiential narrative.
Ryan teaches screenwriting at the University of Tampa. If you like this article, check out the others and FOLLOW this blog! Interested in Ryan making a guest appearance on your podcast or contributing to your website? Send him a DM on Twitter or email him at RLTerry1@gmail.com! You can catch Ryan most weeks at Studio Movie Grill Tampa, so if you’re in the area, feel free to catch a movie with him!