Banshees & Stuff

vic fortezza
3 min readJun 3, 2023

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson teamed to great effect in In Bruges (2008), perhaps the best crime film so far this century. They do so again in the existential drama The Banshees of Inisherin (2022). It is also dubbed a comedy at IMDb. I didn’t laugh once, which may simply be a reflection of my serious nature, although I don’t believe I’m what I used to be in that regard. Set on a small island off the coast of Ireland circa 1923, it’s the story of two longtime friends, one who suddenly can no longer stand the dull company of the other. Gleeson’s character is an amateur violinist who composes a piece referred to in the title. He tries to cut off the friendship, and Farrell’s character won’t accept it, and the situation eventually advances to the bizarre. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, the film garnered nine Oscar nominations, including direction and screenplay. It was his first effort since the highly praised Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), which I wasn’t crazy about. He has also written and directed In Bruges, the entertaining Seven Psychopaths (2012), and a short I haven’t seen. He is a major talent. Four of the cast members received acting nominations, Farrell for Best Actor, Gleeson, Kerry Condon as Farrell’s sister, and Barry Keogan as the area’s “gom,” a foolish person, in supporting roles. Born in Ireland in ’83, Condon has 44 titles under her name at IMDb, including Three Billboards… and three episodes of The Walking Dead, season four. Born in Dublin, Keoghan has 34 titles under his name, including Dunkirk (2017). 210,000+ users at IMDb have rated The Banshees…, forging to a consensus of 7.7 on a scale of ten. To my surprise, it fared well at the box office, returning more than $49 million on a budget of $20 million. It is heartening to see serious work do well financially. It has limited appeal. The pace is slow, running time a few minutes short of two hours. Here’s an example of the dialogue, gleaned from IMDb:
Priest: Do you think God gives a damn about miniature donkeys, Colm?
Colm Doherty: I fear he doesn’t. And I fear that’s where it’s all gone wrong.
From Wiki: “A banshee is a female spirit in Irish folklore who heralds the death of a family member, usually by screaming, wailing, shrieking, or keening.”
Here are Keoghan & Condon in character:

And Farrell & Gleeson:

Many may look down on the following, not I. Headline from “I had my first baby at 53 — after 25 years of $125K IVF treatments.” Congrats, Madam.

Headline from “Police Shot on Duty Up 30 Percent Since ‘21.”

A cool down in temperature, an uptick in sales today at the floating book shop. My thanks to the kind folks who made purchases, especially the young couple who overcompensated me for Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh. Here’s what else sold: two hardcovers in Russian; Property Management for Dummies; What Can You Do With a Law Degree?: A Lawyer’s Guide to Career Alternatives Inside, Outside & Around the Law by Deborah Arron; Medical Terminology Made Easy by Jean M. Dennerll; two potboilers by Nora Roberts; Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown; The New Couple: An absolutely addictive psychological thriller with a shocking twist by Alison James; and The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia by Tim Tzouliadis. I am blessed.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.