falisifr’s review published on Letterboxd:
I think by the fifth mention of the 'conflict on the mainland', we're really supposed to understand the central relationship's malfunction as figuratively indicative of the split between Free-State IRA fighters and the pro-treaty provisional government. such a metaphorical equivocation isn't exactly undue—the perpetuating doom loop that the end beach shot gestures towards is a reasonable reaction to the state of independence/ liberty in Ireland. but McDonagh's sense of political (let alone revolutionary) struggle is so fucked—The Lieutenant of Inishmore willingly subverts the righteous/ righteously complicated history of IRA splinter groups into psycho-killer paddywhackery—than any sense of reasonable complexity is subsumed among an insistence on both-sidesy rhetoric such we can get back to brooding, half-baked theories of compassion and legacy that ultimately lead nowhere (which is the only perspective, nowhere.) it's not necessarily surprising that a childhood in London would blind McDonagh to the kind of nuance/ generosity of analysis anti-treaty IRA fighters deserve. but his unwillingness to see, true, messy, and yes, un-play-like imperfect revolutionary struggle as a necessity by which man-made cruelties (cruelties he's all too excited to integrate into his plays and movies!) must be navigated is an increasingly old act. that he insists on using political crises as foam set-pieces not only to sculpt grandiose, often well-written (whatever that means) dramatic situations but to actually forward status-quo reductions/ conservative viewpoints of world systems betrays an artist in search of a world to believe in, let alone a worldview. Banshees is—like portions of The Pillowman, like the whole of 3 Billboards—another cultural object that invokes a political system not as resulting from a montage of real cruelty (British imperialism, anti-revolutionary militarism, propagandistic sowing among de-privileged working classes) but rather, a naturally occurring mine of dramatic fodder existing for cheap aesthetic observations.