Welcome back to my Home Movies! This week, we have two of the bigger Oscar contenders of the year hitting home video in The Banshees of Inisherin and Tár. Not only are they likely to receive a heaping ton of Academy Award nominations, they’re also two of the better films of 2022. Read on for more…
The Banshees of Inisherin
Ever since the Toronto International Film Festival, I’ve been thinking about The Banshees of Inisherin. In fact, the more I’ve thought about it, the more it has grown on me. As one of the more completely embraced works of 2022, it showcases even more evidence that Martin McDonagh is working on a level few others are. You can see my interview with McDonagh here, as well as conversations with composer Carter Burwell here, cinematographer Ben Davis here, plus co-stars Kerry Condon here and Barry Keoghan here. As for my initial take out of TIFF, some of that is right here for you:
How does a long-standing feud begin? Is it some big gesture or something tiny and potentially unseen by the non-aggrieved party? All answers are possible, but in The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonagh wants you to consider those options, as well as entirely other ones as well. While it might sound like something fairly complex and heady, in some ways this is McDonagh’s quietest and simplest film. While never skimping on the laughs, he’s also crafted arguably his darkest movie yet. It’s a definite tightrope walk, one he pulls off with aplomb. As such, it was no surprise to find that the flick played extremely well at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. It’s a work that lingers with you once the credits roll.
The Banshees of Inisherin is subtle, sometimes to the point where a more passive viewer could feel like they missed something. That’s part of the point, though, and an intentional choice by McDonagh. If In Bruges is his most complete film, with Seven Psychopaths his flashiest, while Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri his broadest, then this one is his most mature.
The return of filmmaker Todd Field with Tár has righty been seen as a cinematic event. Not just for the work of Field, either, but for Cate Blanchett‘s stunning performance. From top to bottom, it’s a challenging yet magnificent movie. This is some of what I had to say when I saw it back here at the Telluride Film Festival:
Todd Field has been gone for too long. The actor turned filmmaker had an incredible debut with In the Bedroom, followed it up magnificently with Little Children, and since then, has struggled to get projects off the ground. Film after film fell apart, preventing cinephiles from seeing more of this talented man’s work. More than fifteen years later, however, Field is back, with TÁR, an engrossing character study and psychological drama. Armed with surely one of the best performances of the year, Field has a memorable cinematic experience on his hands. Here at the Telluride Film Festival, TÁR represents another very long movie experience, but one that’s not to be missed.
TÁR would be compelling all on its own, but with Cate Blanchett in the title role, something special unfolds before your eyes. Blanchett digs deep to create a layered portrayal of a difficult figure. Throw in learning to conduct, play the piano, and speak some German, and the level of commitment on display is something to behold. If Field was going to have to wait this long to make another flick, boy did he find the right actress to collaborate with.
House of the Dragon: The Complete First Season (TV)
My Hero Academia: Season 5, Part 2 (TV)
*No Criterion releases this week, so look for those in the new year!*
Stay tuned for more next week…