(There are some spoilers for the film The Banshees of Inisherin ahead.)
Colm Doherty cares about important things. A lifelong resident of the fictional Irish island Inisherin, Colm has spent his days playing music and chatting at the pub with his best friend, Pádraic. But when stricken by existential dread—hastened in part by the 1923 Irish Civil War waging on the mainland—Colm (Brendan Gleason) devotes himself to making life matter, which he believes means ignoring Pádraic (Colin Farrell).
After Colm’s actions lead to the death of Pádraic’s beloved miniature donkey, Jenny, Colm seeks solace in the confessional booth, much to the chagrin of his priest (David Pearse). “Do you think God gives a damn about miniature donkeys, Colm?” asks the cleric.
“I fear he doesn’t,” Colm answers. “And I fear that’s where it all went wrong.”
With that rejoinder, Colm not only gets at the source of the conflict in The Banshees of Inishiren, the latest movie from British-Irish writer-director Martin McDonagh, but also many of the best films of 2022. Be they drama, comedy, sci-fi or horror, the movies of the past year turn their attention toward things too often dismissed.