In The Banshees of Inisherin, the latest from writer-director Martin McDonagh, two fellow played by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson discuss the virtues of “good chatter.” It’s an art that Farrell hopes will not be lost.
“When push comes to shove, we will always return to good chatter. Conversation, sharing thoughts and feelings with each other,” he said at a Venice Film Festival conference. “It’s a world that is so quick to pull the trigger of judgments on each other. We are so quick to cancel things, with cancel culture and all these kinds of things that’s actually about discourse.
“To have conversation, to exchange ideas in a way that is as open to your opinion being changed as it is to your opinion being shared — that’s a gorgeous thing. I don’t think that will ever die, even if it has been supplanted by technology a little bit,” he added.
Farrell’s response drew a round of applause from the reporters present.
It’s been 14 years since Martin McDonagh cast Farrell and Gleeson together in his feature- length debut, the hitman buddy comedy In Bruges. While Farrell appeared in McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths a decade ago, and Gleeson has appeared in two McDonagh films (Six Shooter and The Guard) the three haven’t worked together again until now.
“Mostly I wanted to get these two guys back together. We had a great time on In Bruges obviously and always wanted to do something again,” McDonagh said at the news conference.
The film has drawn raves, with Farrell garnering a staggering 13-minute standing ovation during its premiere Monday evening.
The new film takes place almost entirely on the remote Irish island of Inishmore. McDonagh wanted to set something in the west Irish region where his father grew up, and where he visited relatives as a kid, and the setting serves as the perfect backdrop for McDonagh’s trademark dialogue.
The setup is simple: Colm (Gleeson) doesn’t want to be friends with Pádraic (Farrell) anymore. In a major city, this peculiar decision might not be much of an issue. But on a small island, the decision affects everyone.
Banshees is McDonagh’s first feature since 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which won a Best Actress Oscar for Frances McDormand and Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell.
Main image: Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell and Martin McDonagh at the Venice Film Festival Banshees of Inisherin panel, courtesy of the Venice Film Festival.