In Dominic’s Shoes: A Deeper Dive into The Banshees of Inisherin!

Helen Gomez

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Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” is a profoundly heartfelt movie, standing out as one of the most emotionally charged films in recent years. Whether you view it as a comedy or a tragic tale, it undeniably brims with genuine emotion and the deepest forms of suffering in every scene.

Barry Keoghan’s portrayal in “The Banshees of Inisherin” garnered widespread acclaim during the 2023 award season. He won in the Best Supporting Actor award at the BAFTAs and earned nominations at prestigious events like the SAGs and Oscars, among others. However, Keoghan’s role in McDonagh’s masterpiece warrants a closer examination.

In this article, we delve into why Barry Keoghan’s character, Dominic, plays a pivotal role in understanding the essence of “The Banshees of Inisherin.” Stay tuned right here at Bigflix for a comprehensive insight into this cinematic gem.

Barry Keoghan’s Dominic: Unlocking the Rift Between Colm and Pádraic

Initially, young Dominic seems like an afterthought in the story of an aging friendship between despairing Colm (Gleeson) and carefree Pádraic (Farrell). Colm’s extreme measures to sever ties for his art’s sake paint Dominic as an external force, attempting to sway Pádraic or offer advice.

Yet, as the film unfolds, Dominic becomes a symbol, not an outsider, revealing the root cause of Pádraic and Colm’s rift.

Colm’s reasons for cutting ties with Pádraic are clear. He views his long-time drinking buddy as dull, his sole interest being his pet miniature donkey, Jenny. After years of friendship, Colm is exhausted by Pádraic’s aimless chatter and craves solitude to focus on his music and inner life, which he believes Pádraic lacks.

This stirs a deep fear in Pádraic of becoming a laughingstock on Inisherin. He repeatedly questions his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) about his intelligence and worries about others ridiculing him behind his back.

Dominic: Pádraic’s refuge and fear, a mirror of Colm’s view. Irritation and compassion echo in their complex dynamic. Colm helps Pádraic after Officer Kearney’s assault, then leaves him in tears. This mirrors how Pádraic aids Dominic but ultimately returns him to abuse.

Pádraic’s feelings towards Dominic reveal the rift’s cause and influence your stance in the Colm/Pádraic conflict.

Dominic’s Demise: The Death of Innocence in ‘The Banshees of Inisherin

Dominic embodies the recurring small-town trope of the village idiot, but “The Banshees of Inisherin” avoids mockery. McDonagh recognizes the tragedy within characters like Dominic—outcasts shunned by their communities, vulnerable to mistreatment, shaping their worldview.

Keoghan adds depth, portraying Dominic’s perpetual sadness and hinting at potential neurological or psychiatric factors. Despite his misunderstanding in a harsh world, Dominic retains a core of kindness and innocence.

He may hurl insults at pub musicians, yet he’s appalled when Pádraic deceives a man about his father’s death. He asks Siobhán intrusive questions but believes in his worthiness of love, not due to arrogance but because, like everyone else, he deserves it.

Dominic and Siobhán: Reflecting Pádraic and Colm

Once more, parallels emerge between Dominic and Pádraic. “The Banshees of Inisherin” highlights the resemblances between Colm and Siobhán, two deep thinkers confined in a small world.

It suggests that if Siobhán remains in Inisherin, she might grow as bitter as Colm. Dominic’s belief in Siobhán’s love mirrors Pádraic’s hope for Colm’s redemption. Dominic embodies everything Pádraic was at the story’s outset.

Thus, it’s no coincidence that Dominic’s demise aligns with Pádraic’s vengeful act, burning Colm’s house as retribution for Jenny’s death. Dominic’s death symbolizes the demise of all that is good and decent in Pádraic.

“The Banshees of Inisherin” leaves Dominic’s death shrouded in mystery. It presents his lifeless body retrieved from the lake. Pádraic, in a letter to Siobhán, suggests a strange accident, the official version on the island. Questions arise: Could Dominic, devoid of inner life, comprehend pain? Islanders wonder.

What remains unspoken is that he does understand pain, enduring the abuse directed at him. When Siobhán gently admits she can’t love someone like him, he grasps his loneliness and heads to the lake. Did he take his own life? The film leaves it uncertain.

In the end, it matters little whether Dominic’s demise was accidental or intentional, for it symbolizes the death of innocence, which can perish through both happenstance and deliberate acts. Pádraic didn’t opt for malevolence; circumstances led him there, but he did choose to set Colm’s house ablaze.

Similarly, Inisherin didn’t elect to isolate itself from the world, observing a war it no longer comprehended. Yet, pettiness and cruelty are choices. They could’ve opted for kindness, aligning with Pádraic’s values. Instead, they chose the path that drowned their innocence.

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