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The Banshees Of Inisherin (Blu-ray Review)

Martin McDonagh’s latest film, The Banshees of Inisherin is probably going to be one of the more pushed and lauded film come awards season this year. There’s plenty of acting and writing accolades to be had from it. Unfortunately it didn’t quite get people out of their homes to go see it at the theater. But now, you can own the film on Blu-ray. Released on December 20th, the film has also been available on HBO Max and digital rental/purchase for a short time already. This one comes with a featurette on making the movie and some deleted scenes to add to the ownership experience. A shame there wasn’t a 4K release, perhaps maybe a Criterion down the road, but can grab yourself a copy if you want by clicking on the paid Amazon Associates link at the bottom of the review.

Film

On a remote island off the coast of Ireland, Pádraic is devastated when his buddy Colm suddenly puts an end to their lifelong friendship. With help from his sister and a troubled young islander, Pádraic sets out to repair the damaged relationship by any means necessary. However, as Colm’s resolve only strengthens, he soon delivers an ultimatum that leads to shocking consequences.

For his 4th feature film, Martin McDonagh appears to be heading back to the well of sorts from which he came. His debut and breakout film was a little comedy-drama called In Bruges between Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell and that’s sort of the core of a start here for The Banshess of the Inisherin. This little film is one that slowly burns away at an evolution from something a bit more lighthearted and humorous and leads to something more dark and devastating. The cinematic version of “Okay, this isn’t funny anymore.” And I mean that in a strong sense of praise.

In a film that is only cast with Academy Awards worthy performances, perhaps the one I came away most impressed with was Farrell. It sort of feels like this is the one, that its his time when watching. There’s an incredible transformation his character goes through in the film that takes its ways from vocal inflection to a way in which Farrell carries himself and delivers  A LOT from his eyes and face without uttering a word. Kerry Condon proves a perfect companion to him and the bond the characters have truly feels organic and genuine on screen as siblings. And yes, Gleeson is tremendous and Barry Keoghan continues to be one of the most understated performers working today.

The Banshees on the Inisherin was filmed in a lovely part of Ireland and makes for a beautiful film to take in. The cinematography here is done in an impressive minimalist fashion. This movie looks huge, open and full of Planet Earth-like beauty. There is also a lot going on and captured in the frame here as well in the little pub and other smaller interiors. It was reminding me at times of Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. A film where the camera is picking up a lot going on in what many would think are simple frame. Sure, the Ireland country/seaside makes for an easy gaze, but you also have to execute and do something with it as well to take it that level above and beyond.

Martin McDonagh continues to just knock it out of the park with unique character tales in smaller capacities. His work with Colin Farrell brings out much of the actor’s career best performances and perhaps this one lands him an Oscar. Everyone in this film is fantastic and its a beautiful film to look at no matter how ugly the subject matter begins to dive into. Easily one of the year’s best films…which is something many folks typically say right after seeing a Martin McDonagh movie.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Banshees of the Inisherin arrives capable of presenting a 4K image but we are having to make do with a Blu-ray presentation of it. Nonetheless, its still quite the looker and about the best you could ask for on the format. Anything you’d nit pick at would easily be improved with a format upgrade. The image is sharp, finely detailed and features some rather terrific depth.

Depth:  Depth of field is pretty impressive, showcasing some good space as well as scale of the exteriors and interiors of the film with some good pushback look to them. Motion is smooth and natural with zero distortion issue present.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and knocking at the door of having a natural appearance. This is the area of the film that most begs for this to get a 4K disc release. For the most part this is more than fine, but there are a couple really dark areas that have some crush. Its no deal breaker, but easily could be improved.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite gorgeous and really feel all of the area. Greens showcase plenty of beauty, saturation and pop while most of the film has a less flashy palette, it does look bold and full.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are visible from practically any given distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: None

Audio

Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Banshees comes with a pretty top flight 5.1 track. While some of the digital releases of the film in the press release said there would be Atmos, the type of film this year isn’t one I’m going to be upset didn’t have it. This is a more solemn one where a 5.1 will quite due. And this one has a pretty well thought out, accurate and engaging mix that gets the right balance of vocals, effects and music.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofers strikes quite well and effectively with good range in the score, slamming, fire roaring, animals clip clopping, punches connecting and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: While most of the film is going on up front, the rear channels provide some awesome ambiance here that is to a nice set volume and provides good, unique sounds that really add to the “feels like you’re there” quality.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

The Banshees of Inisherin comes with a redeemable digital code.

Creating The Banshees of Inisherin (HD, 17:49) – This is pretty rock solid for a more standard “Making Of'”. It isn’t one to push the movie, but to reflect and contains some more fruitful and intuitive interviews than you standard EPK featurette.

Deleted Scenes (HD; 4:49)

Summary

The Banshees of the Inisherin continues a strong run of films from Martin McDonagh. His band of folks are always up to task. This Blu-ray hits about the highest of marks you could hope for knowing there are better video formats and more advanced audio mixes out there. The extras are pretty nice, all things considered. Definitely a pick up with a nice sale price on it, since its currently on HBO Max (And maybe waiting to see if a 4K release peaks out in that time).

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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