Martin McDonagh is a one-time Oscar winner and has been nominated individually for seven Academy Awards. In a relatively young and spread out career, McDonagh has directed five films; one short film and four full-fledge productions. Each film has a vibe to it, and McDonagh is the architect for such auras because he pens all his work. All five of his films are good, but not all films are created equal. I am here to parse out my subjective thoughts and rank the five projects McDonagh has pioneered thus far.

Also, you are probably going to disagree with me. That is fine. Live and let live. Let me know what you think.

No. 5
Seven Psychopaths

Staring: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken
Release Date: October 12, 2012

If there is anyone who I could picture being in a Martin McDonagh movie, it is Sam Rockwell. This man thrives on the absurdist comedy. Throw in there Christopher Walken and his unique sense of timing, and one would think that Seven Psychopaths would be a huge it.

However, I do not think it reaches the high points of his other projects? Why? Not entirely sure. Is it that I had to watch a lot of clips to remember the movie? Is it that it centers around the kidnapping of a puppy which would make a normal person have a visceral reaction but my cold soul doesn’t flinch at? Possibly.

This is my favorite scene of the whole movie. You want absurd Christopher Walken? You can get absurd Christopher Walken. Of this whole movie, the most memorable thing is Walken politely telling his eventual killers that he doesn’t want to put his hands up. It is the best example of something that is funny that is not meant to be in Seven Psychopaths.

Seven Psychopaths is the only movie of McDonagh’s not to get nominated for an Academy Awards.

No. 4
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Staring: Francis McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry Jones, Kerry Condon
Release Date: December 1, 2017

Definitely Martin McDonagh’s most controversial movie. 100%. Without a doubt. Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 2018, it took home two awards; Francis McDormand for Best Actress and Sam Rockwell for Best Supporting Actor.

Both characters of Mildred and Dixon, whom the two award winners play, are real rude assholes. They are not likable. That is what makes Three Billboards so hard to like. Who are we meant to be rooting for? Sure, Mildred wants her daughter’s safe to be solved, but to what cost? McDormand is brining the absolute heat and you can see the ire streaming from her eyeballs. As good as her performance is, and it is really good, it is a hard thing to watch. It is like trying to make eye contact with your old elementary teacher as they are scolding you. So who do you turn to? Well it’s not Dixon, the racist cop. Rockwell takes a trip on the wild side and plays a really unenjoyable figure.

I say this with a conflicted heart, but Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri may be McDonagh’s best looking movie. It may be his best made movie. It is the first of his movies to get nominated for Best Picture. It also is the second time he gets nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Three acting nominations is tied for the most McDonagh will get from a movie of his, setting that mark that is followed up with his next movie.

I am going to be honest, I could put Billboard fifth on my rankings, but you can not ignore the Academy Award nominations and wins. It is bigger for McDonagh, and that is a tiebreaker.

No. 3
The Banshees Of Inisherin

Staring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Pat Shortt, Barry Keoghan
Release Date: November 4, 2022

Five years in the making, The Banshees Of Inisherin takes McDonagh back to his homeland and back to his roots. Bringing back to duo of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees Of Inisherin had me all jacked up to get back to some In Bruges type of dark humor.

Now the humor is very dark and very funny on this random isle of Ireland, but what is it trying to say? I know I am sounding like a pretentious little asshole, but the drama part of The Banshees Of Inisherin left me hollow. I know people who were crying at the end of this movie. Me, I was more, puzzling? Is that the right word? There was nothing I really disliked about Banshees. In fact, I liked the movie. I place it above Seven Psychopaths and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri because I would be way more willing to watch this movie again then the others.

I think that Colin Farrell’s performance in Banshees is the second best of any McDonagh movie, trailing only McDormand. Gleeson and his gleefulness for music is memorable, but I’d much rather take him in In Bruges and Six Shooter. Even though Gleeson is not every emotive in this particular breakup movie, his stillness and fortitude in Six Shooter and In Bruges speaks louder than his finger slicing explanation points here.

I think I am in the minority of society tampering down The Banshees Of Inisherin. With this movie being blasted out on HBO MAX, a ton of people saw it, and saw it early. It generated a ton of talk from “normal folk”, sorry for the bad characterization. Just I know multiple people who saw it without knowing any of McDonagh’s work. That is the power of pushing it to streaming, it would appear.

In terms of critical appraisal, Banshees was nominated for nine Academy Awards. Nine. It did not win any at all, but consensus pool thought seems to have this movie in the top three vote getters for Best Picture at the 95th Academy Awards. Farrell probably had the best shot at winning in the Best Actor category, but Barry Keoghan is the one I remember most.

No. 2
Six Shooter

Staring: Brendan Gleeson, David Wilmot, Rúaidhrí Conroy
Release Date: February 2005

You can watch this entire movie on YouTube. How about that!

Taking place in Ireland, on a train, Six Shooter follows the depressing mood of Donnelly on his way back home after his wife has passed away. Played by Brendan Gleeson, Donnelly isn’t in much of a mood for talking but sitting across from a Kid (Rúaidhrí Conroy) makes that a difficult thing. Kid is is loud, unapologetic and down right rude. His attitude really irks a couple who are are also grieving. A man (David Wilmot) and women (Aisling O’Sullivan) just lost their baby,

So what we have here are three tough emotional angles of an unstable tripod. Man & woman just lost a baby boy are are very volatile. Kid is a loose cannon, and his mouth gets everyone into a bit of trouble. And then there is Donnelly, the grieving moderator who is trying not to upset anyone too much while also trying to compose himself. All seems hunky dory, right?

Six Shooter Martin McDonagh’s first major public movie, and right from the get go you can tell that he is a great writer. McDonagh’s efforts with this production garnered him his only Oscar win thus far in his career for Best Live Action Short. Visually the movie is not going to blow your socks off, but the brashness of the insults will have you clutching your pearls. Yikes. Kid says things that are not allowed nowadays.

Six Shooter flies by. It is also just a blast to see McDonagh working with Gleeson for the first time. Since this moment they have been thick as thieves and they have worked with one another to help bolster each other’s credentials. Also this has the teaming up of father and son with Brendan and Domhnall Gleeson.

Also fun fact, the world “fuck” is said 34 times in this 28 minute movie. That is an average of 1.21 fucks per minute. I think Kid has 30 of the 34 fucks, if I had to guess.

No. 1
In Bruges

Staring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes
Release Date: February 29, 2008

In Bruges was the first Martin McDonagh I ever saw, and it is still the best one I have seen. I honestly can say that this is the first movie I recall knowing the face of Colin Farrell. In Bruges may also haev been the first dark comedy I ever recall seeing. In Bruges broke a lot of barriers for me.

I think that this movie is the most rewatchable of all of McDonagh’s films. I have gone back and watched the elephants scene numerous times, and I still laugh all the fucking time. It may have been the moment where I crystalized that I don’t think obesity should be considered a handicap for individuals. Yea, that is a hot take of mine. You tell me that you aren’t chuckling at fat people chasing around someone in a duck-duck-goose fashion? That is comedy at its purest form!

But what really makes In Bruges the best of the bunch is the one and only Ralph Fiennes. He has the best two lines of the movie. Hands down, bar none.

“You fucking retract that bit about my fucking kids”

This man does not care at all that he was just called a cunt. He doesn’t care at all. He knows it is true. But when his kids get brought into it. Oh man, oh man. You best not tickle this mans feathers because he will poke your eye out.

“You’re an inanimate fucking object”

I quote this line ALL THE FUCKING TIME. The pause before the phone smashing, followed by the frustration that he can’t smash it anymore. Do you know how many times I have screamed this while trying to deal with a peanut butter jar that wouldn’t open? Or if I can’t get the hamper baskets back in properly? I use this phrase all the fucking time.

In Bruges was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2009 Academy Awards. I was nominated alongside Frozen River (2008), Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), WALL-E (2008) and the winner Milk (2009).

Martin McDonagh has not announced his next project. When it does come down the pike, I’ll be hopping in the driver’s seat to watch it. Regardless if you love or hate his movies, or if you have a different favorite than I, there is not denying that McDonagh has a style and he is a slave to it. His vision is always in full. He does not half-ass his extremes. He sends you there with him, and it is whether or not you want to take the dive with him.

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