In a cinematic world dominated by films about superheroes, Star Wars and vengeful ageing assassins, brothers Martin and John Michael McDonagh offer a much-needed ray of light.
Equally talented writers and directors, it’s Martin who is currently enjoying the limelight with his latest film,Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, earning rave reviews and picking up five Baftas in the process.
Both brothers have enjoyed their fair share of critical success though, with an impressive back catalogue of movies you probably love or possibly haven’t seen yet.
With that in mind, loaded has been busy putting together a definitive list of all the McDonagh Brothers’ movies, ranking them from worst to best. Let’s begin.
John Michael wrote the script for this biopic focusing on the life and times of legendary 19th century Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, played by the late Heath Ledger. Though slightly flawed in places, the film makes for an action-packed, insightful western and is well worth a watch.
Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy crime caper may not have been to everyone’s taste, but it nevertheless remains a witty and gleefully violent take on a familiar genre. It also boasts a stellar cast with standout turns from Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson among others.
War On Everyone
John Michael McDonagh took his brash comedic sensibilities Stateside for this twisted Starsky and Hutch homage that follows the anarchic investigations of bad-to-the-bone cops Alexander Skarsgard and Michael Pena. A highly inventive and amusing effort.
Martin McDonagh’s first foray into film, Six Shooter won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film and with good reason. A black and bloody Irish comedy, it stars Brendan Gleeson and, without giving away too much, makes for a truly unique film experience. Check the whole thing out above.
John Michael McDonagh’s second collaboration with Brendan Gleeson sees the latter cast as a priest whose life is threatened during a confession. Will he find his would-be killer before it’s too late? A deliciously dark comedy follows, full of inventive and memorable characters and anchored by a compelling plot that will keep you guessing until the end.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Frances McDormand goes head-to-head with local sheriff Woody Harrelson and racist police officer Sam Rockwell as a grieving mother who sets out to challenge the authorities after their fail to solve the murder of her daughter. An emotive and uniquely engaging tale plays out. Three Billboards has won rave reviews and countless awards with more set to come.
John Michael McDonagh proved he was more than a match for his brother with this Irish-set buddy cop thriller that teams Brendan Gleeson unorthodox policeman with Don Cheadle’s uptight FBI Agent against an international drug smuggling ring. What might sound formulaic is anything but though, with McDonagh’s script gifting Gleeson with a glut of killer lines.
The film that put Martin McDonagh on the cinematic map, In Bruges offers up the simplest of premises with two assassins, played by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, forced to stop-over in the Belgian city after a “job” gone wrong. Yet it’s real strength lies in McDonagh’s script and the performances of the cast, who help create an unpredictable crime drama full of wit, humour and real heart.