Dark comedy seems to be Martin McDonagh’s specialty, and he returns with The Banshees Of Inisherin this October. The film follows two lifelong best friends in crisis after one of them suddenly decides to end their friendship, leading to wicked consequences.
The movie is one of the most original comedies in recent years. Still, the movie addresses some distinctive dark comedy tropes used in other movies of the genre that should definitely compel fans of the film to seek them out.
10/10 The Guard (2011)
This Irish comedy is another great showcase of the talent The Banshees Of Inisherin director Martin McDonagh sees in Brendan Gleeson, a great actor that knows perfectly how to pair dramatic roles with comedy.
In the film, Gleeson’s character isn’t so different from his moody character in The Banshees Of Inisherin, Colm. While much more energetic and clumsy than Colm, Sergeant Gerry Boyle is just as sarcastic and crass, teamed up with a strict FBI agent in an international case revolving around a drug-trafficking ring.
9/10 The Hateful Eight (2015)
The Hateful Eight works with the forced proximity trope just as creatively as The Banshees Of Inisherin does. In the latter, characters are aware of their unremarkable lives and the relations they have in the monotonous Inisherin, but they also know they’re bonded to that place and simply can’t leave.
Quentin Tarantino’s dark humor trademark shines in The Hateful Eight. The film takes place almost entirely in a single location, forcing characters that hate each other to interact and uncover the mystery of what exactly each one of them is doing there. They all knew something bad could happen at any time, and they certainly didn’t leave solely because of the snowstorm outside; they all stayed mainly because they wanted the matter between them solved, unaware of the deadly consequences.
8/10 The Killing Of A Sacred Deer (2017)
The Banshees Of Inisherin has a sorrowful, bleak atmosphere from beginning to end as the miserable lives of the characters unravel onscreen, yet it still manages to bring about good laughs from viewers, sometimes out of nervousness due to the absurdity of its story.
A similar case happens inThe Killing Of A Sacred Deer, a movie difficult to describe since it fits into many genres, from horror to thriller, to a pitch-black comedy. In the film, a successful doctor sees his life turn upside down after his friendship with a young man comes to a halt when the boy curses him and his family.
7/10 The Nice Guys (2016)
If viewers are looking for a duo with great chemistry and as engaging to follow as Pádraic and Colm, The Nice Guys might be the perfect option. The film perfectly balances dark comedy with a thrilling mystery, counting on two unforgettable performances by Ryan Gosling and Russel Crowe.
In The Nice Guys, two eccentric private detectives with nothing in common but terribly bad luck cross each other’s paths as they investigate the link of a missing girl case with the mysterious death of a porn star.
6/10 Killer Joe (2011)
Just like in The Banshees Of Inisherin, the dark comedy of Killer Joe is used in an unconventional way, inserted as a recurring comical relief to alleviate the intensity of the film’s absurd and violent nature.
The unpredictable film presents a seemingly simple plot that quickly escalates into a tangled web of misfortunes and brutality. The protagonist is a corrupted cop who also works as a hit man. He accepts the offer of killing the evil mother of a desperate drug dealer in exchange for a chance with the man’s charming sister, but things will hardly end up good to all of them.
5/10 T2: Trainspotting (2017)
The first Trainspotting is about a youth wasteland and the influence of drugs in a forgotten generation, while its sequel T2, one of the best legacy sequels in recent years, is much more focused on addressing the incompatible friendship of a group put together due to unconventional circumstances.
The film reunites the OG gang 20 years after one of them double-crossed the others and took off with all their money. Reconnecting is obviously hard and T2 presents a set of characters that clearly care about each other but simultaneously represent the ruin of themselves, similar to how The Banshees Of Inisherin addresses the abrupt end of a lifelong friendship between two friends that are the opposite of each other.
4/10 Fight Club (1999)
Fight Club adapts Chuck Palahniuk’s novel with his uniquely dark sense of humor, delivering one of the best satires on toxic masculinity and revolt of egos, two themes that work as the base of The Banshees Of Inisherin.
Just like the Narrator and Tyler consume themselves entirely in their conflicting revenge fantasy against society, both dealing with two different approaches that simply don’t work together, the two main characters of The Banshees Of Inisherin destroy themselves as they enter each other’s twisted game of ego and frustration. A big bonus for the two similar and incredible final shots from both movies.
3/10 The Big Lebowski (1998)
Jeff Bridge’s iconic character of Jeff Lebowski, better known as “The Dude,” draws a parallel between the busy and multifaceted city of Los Angeles and the peaceful, tedious life in the small Irish island called Inisherin. The Dude’s main goal is to take it easy and carry on his unremarkable routine, but he’s dragged into a tumultuous local conspiracy with all sorts of strange characters, from millionaires to producers of pornography.
On the other hand, the calm, customary Inisherin counts on its single attraction, the pub, forcing its inhabitants to live the most monotonous lives as war stretches on the other side of the island. In contrast to the Dude’s attempts to get away from trouble, the characters of The Banshees Of Inisherin create their own battles just to have something to care about.
2/10 The Favourite (2018)
Like The Banshees Of Inisherin, The Favourite features a loyal friendship of two cousins gradually turning into an endless battle aiming at destroying one another. The rivalry is ignited by the two ladies’ desire to be the queen’s “favorite.” An unpredictable, sensitive older woman with peculiar interests, the queen is the highlight of the film, with another spectacular performance by Olivia Colman.
The situation quickly reaches violent, unrepairable proportions as the two cousins resort to the most outrageous measures to eliminate the other, turning the whole thing into a twisted game in which no one really wins.
1/10 In Bruges (2008)
In Bruges shares various similarities with The Banshees Of Inisherin in addition to sharing the same director, Martin McDonagh. The movie stars the same duo as the 2022 film, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, again playing two unreliable friends with conflicting interests, bonded by unusual circumstances.
The 2008 film follows two hit men bored out of their minds in the cute Belgian town of Bruges as they wait for their next mission. When the instructions are revealed, an absurd conspiracy will drive the two men to unexpected extremes. Terribly hilarious, the movie delivers comedy amid unexpected bursts of violence and witty character interactions, elements McDonagh would bring to a whole new level in The Banshees of Inisherin.