Martin McDonagh has made some spectacular, and simultaneously polarizing films since he made his feature film debut with 2008’s In Bruges. Now, he’s reunited with both stars (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) for The Banshees of Inisherin, a dour tragicomedy, which is precisely where McDonagh’s skills lie. McDonagh, whose background is in playwriting, is highly skilled in threading the needle between darkness and humor, and it’s more evident here than it is anywhere else. Once you get past the Irish accents — trust me, it will take a moment to adjust — you’ll get hit with the genius of McDonagh’s stellar screenplay, chock-full of quotable idioms and engaging character moments that will have you contemplating for days to come, and marked direction, which immerses you beautifully in the quasi-fictional world of 1920s Ireland. I wrote in my review that “no one is better at communicating that sorrow, coupled with the funny little quirks of existence than Martin McDonagh, and Banshees is certainly him at his best.” This is one of six nominations McDonagh has received throughout his career, along with one win (in 2006, for his short film Six Shooter).
This directing duo is nothing short of astonishing, and some of the most interesting creative minds whose work I’ve had the pleasure of seeing come to life on-screen. Nothing makes me happier, sadder and silly like Everything Everywhere All At Once, and I truly believe that the Daniels have captured lightning in a bottle. Their recognition at the awards this year is much deserved.
I’m not familiar with Todd Field’s earlier work (TÁR is the first of his films I’ve seen), but by far his biggest victory with TÁR is how very real it all seems. After the release, I saw articles and tweets online asking questions and posing theories about why we had never heard of Lydia Tár before, and how it was a good thing her story was finally being told — the exposure is what she deserves to finally have her potential transgressions put before the court of public opinion. This is the world that Todd Field has created, one so lifelike and brutal that people on the internet (easy dupe-able that they are) truly believed it was more fact than fiction. I can’t speak to Field’s specialties, but I can laud the efficacy of his efforts and that of his team on TÁR — that takes skill, and thus, his place in this category is assured. This is one of Field’s six overall Oscar nominations. His last was in 2006, for Little Children.
Read my review of TÁR here.
Read my review of Triangle of Sadness here.