Mikkel E.G. Nielsen interview: ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ editor
“Editing is like painting with all the different elements of film making,” declares Oscar-winning editor Mikkel E.G. Nielsen A.C.E. (“Sound of Metal”) about his work on “The Banshees of Inisherin.” For our recent webchat he adds, “You have a script, you have the actors giving an interpretation of the script and then you have the elements of sound and visuals and music,” he says. “It’s about trying to bring all these amazing performances together with a great script and then try to find as good a balance as possible and take you through this whole journey.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
In “The Banshees of Inisherin,” jaded folk musician Colm (Brendan Gleeson) abruptly ends his life-long friendship with his drinking buddy Pádraic (Colin Farrell) on the fictional island of Inisherin, a small remote community off the coast of Ireland during the Irish Civil War. Pádraic’s caring and forthright sister Siobhán (Kerry Condon) and troubled local simpleton Dominic (Barry Keoghan) attempt to repair the damaged relationship by helping to defuse the escalating stand-off between the men, but their collective efforts prove fruitless as Colm’s resolve intensifies, leading to inevitably shocking consequences. The Searchlight Pictures black tragicomedy was written and directed by Oscar winner Martin McDonagh, reuniting Farrell and Gleeson, who previously worked together on McDonagh’s directorial debut “In Bruges” (2008) and Condon after their previous stage collaborations “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” and “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” and McDonagh’s last Oscar-winning film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Like many of McDonagh’s previous films, “Banshees” doesn’t spoon-feed its audience, unafraid to leave the audience guessing when the credits roll at the end. “We are so used to, in so many films and series and situations, that we are given the answers,” Nielsen explains about using your own imagination when understanding a character’s motivations. “We tried all the way to hold back a little bit, so you have to invest something of yourself in the story,” he says. “What’s really interesting about Martin’s script is this idea of entering the world with a smiling person, who’s then rejected and you have the same feeling as he has and you ask the same questions as he has. So, therefore we almost become like the main character and little by little you also start questioning what was before,” he says, adding that you “then you start putting some of yourself into a situation and your own relationships.”