‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ Is Filled With Beautiful Colin Farrell Sweaters

Martin McDonaugh’s new dark comedy has sweaters that’ll make you say, “Now that it’s spring 1923, I can really start dressin.”

Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin 2022.

Sweater excellence, lads. Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonaugh’s new pitch black comedy, is about what happens when one elderly Irishman stops being polite … and starts being real. On a fictional remote Irish island, we meet Pádraic (Colin Farrell), a sweet and uncomplicated farmer who lives with his sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) and is wholly content with his lot in life. His greatest pleasures are spending time with his best friend, a donkey named Jenny, and his best human friend, a curmudgeonly fiddle player named Colm (Brendan Gleeson). His happiness is upended one afternoon when, as the two men are due for their daily hang at Inisherin’s sole pub, Colm decides that he no longer wants to be friends with Pádraic. So intent is Colm on severing ties that he threatens to slice off one of his own fingers every time Pádraic tries to talk to him. As their conflict brutally escalates, we’re hit with moment after moment of genuine shock to the senses.

I’m speaking, of course, about Pádraic’s glorious sweaters. About halfway through the film, Colin Farrell appears onscreen wearing a deep blue sweater that made me do a full mental awooga as my eyes popped out of my head like a perverted cartoon wolf. Unexpected flash of color? Check. An exquisite turtleneck collar that would make Hemingway tremble with jealousy? Check. A chunky-soft fabric that appears as if it was knit from the night sky itself??? Check!!!

Great pants, too. 

Courtesy of Jonathan Hession for Searchlight Pictures

I would say it was cinema’s perfect sweater, but it has some fierce competition—from another Colin Farrell sweater in The Banshees of Inisherin. That would be the burgundy number with an oversized, floppy knit collar. Farrell accessorizes with his eyebrows, twin acrobats of emotion.

A sweater confrontation.

Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

At one point, Pádraic exclaims, “I’m a happy lad!” With that wardrobe? Of course he is. These are easily some of the best sweaters to ever grace the silver screen. (And this isn’t even the first time a film about two men arguing on an isolated island has yielded incredible sweater porn.) These are sweaters that’ll make you say, “Now that it’s spring 1923, I can really start dressin.” After years of playing Hollywood’s leather-clad bad boy both on and offscreen, they’re an especially good change of pace for Farrell. Plus, they fit the general snuggliness of his character. Pádraic is a soft guy. He deserves a soft knit.

Jenny (left) and Pádraic.

Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

An early costume sketch for a sweaterless Pádraic look. 

Courtesy of Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh

The Banshees of Inisherin designer Eimer Ní Mhaoldomhnaigh told me in an email that all of Pádraic’s sweaters were handknit for the film. I was particularly interested in how the unusual collar on the red one came to be. 

“I’m not sure how common it was, but it is based on a photograph I found of a man from the time from the Aran Islands,” she told me. (The Aran Islands are, of course, the birthplace of the fisherman sweaters you know and love.) I was intrigued by the collar and we set about creating a similar style,” Mhaoldomhnaigh said. “It was quite tricky getting the proportion right with a knitted collar—we are more used to working with fabric, which is easier to manipulate, but I love the end result!”

Also unusual are the bold sweater colors. Films set in this era tend to veer towards dreary, muted tones. “The red skirt or petticoat was a staple of the women of the west of Ireland so I wanted red to be an important punctuation within the film and a color that would root Siobhán and Pádraic to the community and the land,” Mhaoldomhnaigh told me. “When we made the first jumper for Colin the red was too bright and modern looking and we decided on a darker shade, which I’m really happy with.”

The final sweater on the left and the original, brighter draft, at right. 

Courtesy of Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh

“The other colors peppered throughout the film are an attempt to work with the heightened reality of the film and its almost magic realism. I also wanted the colors to play with and against the landscape. But ultimately, they are there to serve the character and the story,” she continued.

I also asked Mhaoldomhnaigh if Farrell had any specific opinions about the sweaters. “He loved them :-)),” she wrote back.

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