Venice (AFP) – Colin Farrell’s new movie, starring alongside his old friend Brendan Gleeson, takes the sultry black humor of the beloved “In Bruges” to darker and weirder places.
“The Banshees of Inisherin,” which won streaming reviews when it premiered in competition at the Venice Film Festival on Monday, brings Pharrell and Gleeson together with writer and director Martin McDonagh after their 2008 comedy.
Set on a remote Irish island during the Civil War in the 1920s, the film is the harrowing story of an old man (Gleeson) who decides one day he can’t waste any more time with his younger friend (Pharrell) who distracts him from composing music.
“It was very familiar and completely distinctive,” Farrell told AFP.
“The song In Bruges was a friendship built between this strange couple. It’s the opposite… such a painful and violent dissolution of the friendship.”
Best friends in real life, the two actors weren’t sure if they should walk away while filming.
“We cleared it up at first – do we need to get away? But it wasn’t,” Gleason told AFP.
However, he added, the tension “bleeds into what you are now.” “We were aware that this was going to happen and we gave each other enough space.”
horse and cart
The film raises the debate about whether artists need to isolate themselves to get work done.
Gleeson said, “It took me a while to understand the need for a bloody trailer (on movie sets), to get the hell out of everyone — the amount of energy that is expanded to just chatting with people, being kind to them…”
Filming on beautiful Inishmore Island certainly helped in that regard.
“The island gave us life,” Farrell said. “The distance[the people]gave us was amazing.”
But Gleeson interjects to remind him of a group of tourists who followed him on a horse and wagon.
“He went for a run and tried to run away from him, but no,” he said, as they both broke out laughing. “I had a great conversation with the horse – I was a neck chopper!”
The film earned strong reviews across the board after its premiere on Monday, with Variety calling it McDonagh’s “richest touching film” and Farrell’s performance being praised as one of the year’s best films of all time.
McDonagh, whose “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” won Best Screenplay in Venice five years ago, is known for his resistance to cinematic clichés.
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“It’s very easy not to follow the usual snippets, not to be boring,” he told AFP.
“As long as the characters are honest… you can go from a strange starting place to strange places, and you will still have an exciting, funny, dark story.
“But certainly I’m always against clichés – I’d never make a Marvel movie,” he added.
The Civil War is mentioned only briefly, but serves as an apt backdrop to the events on the island.
“It’s a sad reflection of what exactly was happening in the Civil War where brothers were fighting each other,” said Keri Condon, who plays Farrell’s sister.
“But Martin’s humor comes with the fact that the people on the island don’t care much about war.”
Her character’s discontent with self-important men and their arguments is something Condon can understand.
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“Of course this is something I can relate to!” She laughed.
“And pent-up anger. Although I do not suppress my anger.”
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