Following his Oscar win for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh reteams with In Bruges stars Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell in The Banshees Of Inisherin. Whilst getting the band together should feel like a raucous and celebratory occasion, this story is a more solemn affair – one that feels like a farewell tour you weren’t emotionally ready for.

It’s always hard when a relationship ends, whether a romance or friendship, but the toughest are the ends that come unexpectedly and seemingly without reason. Which is precisely what happens to Padraig (Farrell) one day when his (former) best friend Colm (Gleeson) informs him that they are no longer friends and that he should stay away from him.

Courtesy of Searchlight

It helps to know that a Banshee is a female spirit in Irish folklore whose wails usually herald the death of a family member close one. In this instance, a friendship’s end can be regarded as its own kind of death. After all, Padraig goes through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Although, not necessarily in that order.

In the early ’00s, Hollywood was trying hard to fit Colin Farrell into their typical action star-slash-leading man mould. With the likes of In Bruges and Yorgos LanthimosThe Lobster, he was able to showcase his incredible talent, revealing himself to be a character actor in a leading man’s body with an uncanny ability to walk the fine line between comedy and tragedy.

In The Banshees Of Inisherin, his puppy dog eyes and bold, emotive brows immediately get the audience on his side, the antithesis to Gleeson’s taciturn grouch. The chemistry the two actors built on In Bruges is still as magnetic as ever – sparks fly in their scenes together, while a palpable void engulfs the scenery when they are kept apart.

Courtesy of Searchlight

However, that absence soon evolves into an abscess that turns ugly and cancerous. After Padraig repeatedly tries to force the friendship back to its former state, Colm gives Padraig an ultimatum: stay away from him and accept his decision, or he will cut off one of his own fingers for every time Padraig approaches him. That threat of violence (even if it is onto himself) will ultimately take both men down a dark path, and one that Padraig’s sister (a fantastic Kerry Condon) tries but fails to keep them going down.

A tragicomedy about the toxicity of a relationship breakdown, The Banshees features a quartet of excellent performances (Barry Keoghan as Dominic among them), all of whom elevate a script that is already as sharp as Colm’s shears. There may be no love lost between the two former friends, but one certainly expects lots of love from the Oscars for The Banshees Of Inisherin – aka Men will literally cut off their own fingers instead of going to therapy.

The Banshees Of Inisherin is in UK cinemas now.