starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kelly, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan
written and directed by Martin McDonagh
by Walter Chaw I lost a friend this year. Not to death but to no longer having anything of value to offer him, what with time getting short. I understand that. It's happened before for different reasons, and while it's tempting to say it's not my fault, sure, it's my fault. All you need to love in this world unconditionally are your kids, and, well, the last time my late parents told me they loved me, I was nine years old. I remember that because every few years, I've had reason to wonder when it stopped and what exactly I did to deserve it. The myth of family is just that; I think there's a reason people like me build their own families. The only thing unconditional is the love a dog has for you, and people abuse dogs all the time. I have friends who are enervating to me as well, and I wonder if my loyalty to them has everything to do with knowing the pain of being left by the side of the road by the people I have loved--and not wanting to inflict that on anyone else. The fashion of the moment speaks of this as "ending the cycle" of abuse. I'm drawn to artists like Kendrick Lamar who use poetry and what appears to be an extraordinary vulnerability to lay bare their struggles. Even as I write this, I'm noticing the pain I have in the middle knuckle of the third finger on my left hand. I've put down millions of words in the past 20 years, going through multiple keyboards and laptops in that time. I was driven by an obsession not to be forgotten, although I'm losing track of why that matters. The longer I go, the more it seems a blessing to slip beneath the surface, and then it's done. I have a heaviness in my chest sometimes that feels like a stone, worn smooth and round, sitting right there on my sternum. Time is getting short for me. Some days it feels a lot shorter than others. I wonder how small the iris of my perception will become as the possibility of works I'll complete dwindles to not one more. That's it, then someone else closes the cover of your last notebook.