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the real war is in the hearts of men. Martin McDonagh’s film review

Located on an island off the west coast of Ireland, The spirits of the island follows two old friends, padraic (Colin Farrel) And Colm (Brendan Gleeson), who find themselves at an impasse when Colm abruptly …

Located on an island off the west coast of Ireland, The spirits of the island follows two old friends, padraic (Colin Farrel) And Colm (Brendan Gleeson), who find themselves at an impasse when Colm abruptly decides to end their friendship. Confused and devastated, Padraic attempts to rekindle their relationship with the support of his sister. Siobhan (Kerry Condon), with who Dominica (Barry Keoghan), the son of the local policeman, has his worries within the small island community. But when Colm issues a shocking ultimatum to follow through on his intentions, events begin to escalate.

The new movie from Martin McDonaghback behind the camera five years after the consecration of Three posters in Ebbing, Missouriit condenses in a closed place isolated from the rest of the world extraordinary capacity for writing and cinematic prose. The Irish author is particularly adept here at working on dark and ironic characterson the idea of ​​the world and the destiny that accompanies them and takes them by the hand between a pint of dark beer, a banal conversation in an inn and a refusal ready to turn into an ideal battlefield between two opposing visions of communicability, of life, of the blood bond between men.

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Neither The spirits of the island the two protagonists live a particularly harsh and inhospitable Irish land, composed almost exclusively of an infinite myriad of rectangular plots all the same, inserted inside rectangles of rocks, from which the gray and swirling horizon of the stormy sea always appears too far away. From the coasts, we hear the distant blows of the civil wartorn between supporters and opponents of the Anglo-Irish Treaty at the base of the birth, two years earlier, of irish free state.

A distant conflict only in appearance, because Padraic and Colm have this war embedded in our minds and hearts and buried in our guts, as if to dig a clear furrow between oneself and what surrounds them. If the character of Colin Farrell (exceptional for the timing, the tone and the very controlled fragility of his playing) will take time to reveal the black heart of his instincts, the second, that of Gleeson, is a gruff and grumpy musician of ‘affection. of a depression that makes his misanthropy particularly dark. yet they are theirs rough and broken interactions, marked with a very human irony even when the contrast becomes particularly harshmake the movie, push The spirits of the island in the direction of stature of the best theater of the absurd à la Beckettunsurprisingly Irish like McDonagh, who orients his scenario here towards maximum theatricality and collects the maximum return with apparently the minimum effort of location and expenditure of means.

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But it’s mostly a fairy tale, The spirits of the islandand that’s how it seems to have been conceived and shot, with particularly humanized animals to serve as hilarious curtains, as if to summon onto the stage and infuse the characters with a humanistic relief from their irreversible disenchantmenton which it seems to weigh the Damocles sword of inescapable despair (the “island spirit” of the Italian title is embodied by a old Banshee, a figure in Irish folklore and a legendary creature that is only shown to human beings near death). Reactions to things from Padric and Colm – naïve and simple the first, fierce and impassive the second – are always ridiculously amplified and mockingly exasperated, both in the hilarious dialogues with the other villagers and in the two-on-one dates that invest them, in which the conflict between the crazy and the poignant is always, soft and very labile (and that’s one of the most compelling and appealing reasons in the whole movie).

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In their words, however, it is always visible the consoling and sometimes even superhuman balm that the power of orality and stories, even microscopically absurd and grotesque, always, inevitably brings. Some things can’t be overcome after all, as one of the film’s most iconic lines goes, and basically – at least as long as there is a story to redeem its meaning and intrinsic moral value – it’s good too.

Photo: Photos of the projectors

To read also: Gli Spiriti dell’Isola (The Banshees of Inisherin): the first trailer for the film with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in Competition at Venice 79


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