Andrew Sullivan (58:23): “Have you seen The Banshees of Inisherin?”
Bill Maher: “I have almost seen it. I’m almost at the end. A friend and his wife saw it, and they cautioned me off of it. It was on cable” — who watches cable? — “so I could tape it” — who tapes shows? — “and watch it in the kitchen. This is a kitchen film, I figured. It’s gonna be talky and ponderous, which it is…but in the kitchen [a film like this] works perfectly. And I’m almost to the end. Spoiler alert — the cutting off of the fingers. And, being ciose at the end, I don’t quite see how that pays off. And the sister left…”
Sullivan: “The scene I was thinking about…Colin [Farrell] has come to this realization…just to be with a normal person, nobody’s gonna remember us. And Brendan has to have his music and Colin just wants [simple] companionship.”
Maher: “That’s the point of the movie.”
Sullivan: “Yeah, and there is that conflict. And there’s this conversation where [Kerry Condon says to Brendan Gleeson], ‘That wouldn’t be good for your music, would it, if you chopped all your fingers off?’ And he says, ‘Ahh, now we’re gettin’ somewhere.'”
Maher: “But he does it [anyway].”
Sullivan: “And Gleeson says, ‘Yoo know sometimes I think we just entertain ourselves to stave off the inevitable. Don’t you think?’ And she says, ‘No, I don’t.’ And he looks at her and says, ‘Yeah, you do.'”
[Sullivan’s rendition is pretty close to Martin McDonagh’s screenplay, The passage can be found on page 59.]
Maher: “It’s so Irish, so Irish. A lot of suffering, and a lot of poetic-in-the-soul from the suffering. When Brendan suddenly says to Colin, ‘Leave me alone, you’re boring’, I thought ‘Colin Farrell, one of the most charismatic actors of the last 20 years, is boring?’ But okay, I got past that…”
Sullivan: “The older I get, the more Irish I get. The way they mix this dark anger with humor. The West Coast of Ireland, these people…”
Maher: “But [the film] had better have a big payoff. Colin burns Brenan’s house down…I’ve gotten to that part. Does something happen at the end to redeem this [fecking] story?”
HE to Maher: No, nothing happens. It doesn’t pay off at all. The movie simply leaves you with death and despair and severed digits, and the distant rumble of Civil War happening on the mainland.
Which is why the movie has never been in the Best Picture conversation, although the performers — Colin, Kerry, Barry — have been doing fine. Brendan hasn’t won anything because his character cut his fingers off and people generally don’t like that. I certainly didn’t. I found it ridiculous, in fact. Absurdly nihilistic.
Maher and Sullivan keep talking about Banshees for a while. [Until at least the 1:10 mark.] Then they get into the now-familiar observation, “This movie couldn’t be made today.” Maher: “How many films qualify in this regard?” Sullivan: “Basically everything.”