In this section of our Colossus Movie Guide for The Banshees of Inisherin, we answer questions you have about the movie. If you’re curious about plot explanations, meanings, themes, lessons, motifs, symbols, or just confused by something, ask and we’ll do our best to answer.
- Colm Doherty – Brendan Gleeson
- Pádraic Súilleabháin – Colin Farrell
- Siobhán Súilleabháin – Kerry Condon
- Dominic Kearney – Barry Keoghan
- Peadar Kearney – Gary Lydon
- Gerry – Jon Kenny
- Jonjo Devine – Pat Shortt
- Mrs. O’Riordan – Bríd Ní Neachtain
- Written by – Martin McDonagh
- Directed by – Martin McDonagh
The Banshees of Inisherin | Questions and Answers
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Why did Dominic die? What happened to him?
The most likely outcome here is that Dominic took his own life. That’s why he was so upfront with Siobhán, wanting to know, once and for all, if she would ever fancy him. The scene with her takes place right near where his body’s found. So it’s likely he went from the conversation with Siobhán, off to some quiet area, and jumped into the lake. Why?
Why Dominic did this would be the brutal reality of his life. He lives with a father who abuses him. He has one friend, Pádraic, and they aren’t even really that close. He has zero romantic opportunities. There’s just very little in the way of prospects. Which ties into an overall theme of the despair the people in Inisherin feel. Pádraic, Colm, and Siobhán all express and display signs of depression.
Some might wonder if Dominic’s father, Peadar, had anything to do with the drowning. Probably not. Despite Peadar’s violence, he seemed to want his son around as a caretaker and scapegoat. It also wouldn’t really make narrative sense for Mrs. McCormick to walk Peadar to something he did then have no consequence to the encounter. That means the consequence is the revelation. And that only makes sense if it’s a surprise for Peadar. If he did it, you’d expect some moment where he threatens Mrs. McCormick or says something like “I don’t see anything.” Instead, he seems genuinely caught off guard.
Why did Colm stop talking to Pádraic?
There’s not really a secret here. Colm explains he’s just tired of Pádraic. Others in the town confirm that Colm’s always been a thinker and Pádraic isn’t, so their friendship was always a bit strange.
Why won’t Pádraic be friends with Colm again?
Mostly because the story is a metaphor for the real divide within Ireland after the Civil War. The Irish Free State and IRA did not re-integrate in a nice, cool, healthy way. They stayed at odds for decades. Tensions have continued to this very day.
Also, being mean to Colm has made Colm talk to Pádraic again. So there’s a degree of Colm training Pádraic to act this way. Whenever Pádraic was nice, Colm was angry and dismissive. When Pádraic’s mean, Colm’s interested. So Pádraic leans into just being mean. Even though a larger part of him probably wants nothing more than to let it all go. He’s at a point where he believes he can’t.
Why did the donkey die?
Jenny choked one of the fingers Colm threw at Pádraic’s door. That’s the simple answer. There’s a bit more complexity there though.
The first time Colm removed a finger and threw it at Pádraic’s door, Pádraic fetched it up right away and took care of it. Why? Because he was concerned about his friend. The second time, Colm leaves four fingers. Which drives off Siobhán. Which depresses Pádraic. Sad and overwhelmed, Pádraic doesn’t clean up the fingers. And Siobhán’s not there to do it or encourage him to do it.
So even though it’s technically Colm’s fault since it’s Colm’s finger, Pádraic’s also to blame. If he had been responsible, he’d have cleaned up the fingers just to not have fingers around his house. Instead, he put it off and gave Jenny the time and opportunity to eat a finger.
What year is it?
1923. The same year as the end of the Irish Civil War.
Is Banshees of Inisherin a sequel to In Bruges?
No, Banshees is not a sequel to In Bruges. Both star Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson but there’s no major narrative continuity between them.
What’s the meaning of the Banshees of Inisherin?
It’s a scaled down interpretation of the Irish Civil War. Colm is the Irish Free State. Pádraic is the IRA. Their conflict reimagines the beginning of the Civil War through its conclusion and the lasting impact it’s had on Ireland.
Is Inisherin a real place?
Inisherin is not a real place.
What is a banshee?
Keening is a traditional part of Irish mourning. It’s a kind of sorrowful musical wailing mainly practiced by women. So if you were passing by a town and heard this crying out, you’d know someone had passed away. This led to the legend of the banshee. A female spirit that keened. The twist being that it wasn’t for someone who already died. Rather, it was a sign someone would. Someone close to whoever saw the banshee.
So the banshee is associated with death. If you want more on what this means for the film’s title, click here
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