Rules of the Game: How Martin McDonagh Satirizes Masculinity

Violence, Shame, Victimization. Repeat.
Banshees Of Inisherin

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at how director Martin McDonagh deconstructs masculinity.


Martin McDonagh‘s latest feature —The Banshees of Inisherin, which our own Anna Swanson enjoyed quite a bit — served as a reunion of sorts. McDonagh’s feature film debut also starred Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. So while Banshees is basking in the glow of its well-earned critical praise, it’s worth casting our minds back to In Bruges.

Released in 2008 (yes, it’s been that long), In Bruges follows two Irish hit-men, Ken (Gleeson) and Ray (Farrell). The pair have been sent to spend the Christmas holidays in Bruges after Ray botches a hit that leaves a young boy dead. Young, bored, and guilty, Ray’s childish inability to sit still leads to all sorts of trouble in paradise … or as Ray sees it: purgatory.

As the video essay below highlights, McDonagh uses Ray to satirize the toxic shame-based cycle used to justify violence and victimization. Performative masculine principles are a trap, McDonagh tells us. Not an unavoidable one, but one that many are doomed to fall into face-first on the cobblestones.

Watch “How Martin McDonagh Deconstructs Masculinity”


Who made this?

This video on Paul Schrader’s thoughts on the audience’s role in redemption is hosted by the folks at Little White Lies, a film-obsessed magazine based in the United Kingdom. Will Clempner wrote and edited this video. You can follow Little White Lies on Twitter here. And you can check out their official website here. You can subscribe to their YouTube account here.

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Meg Shields: Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).