Director: Martin McDonagh

Cast: Frances McDormand, Caleb Landry Jones, Kerry Condon, Sam Rockwell, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, Amanda Warren, Malaya Rivera Drew, Sandy Martin, Peter Dinklage, Jerry Winsett, Kathryn Newton, John Hawkes, Samara Weaving, Clarke Peters

Rating: A-

A dark and somewhat politically incorrect film, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI covers rage, despair, and grief through the eyes of a distraught mother on a vigilante mission. Rough, raw, and gritty, this movie tackles different viewpoints on how justice should be delivered as the police go up against a mother’s relentless pursuit of bringing her daughter’s killer to justice. As the story unfolds, those involved in the case find themselves surprised by the unlikely alliances as they start to discover the power of freeing themselves from anger.

Mildred (Frances McDormand) is frustrated that in the seven months since her daughter was murdered, the police have no answers as to who the killer may be and feels that her daughter is a forgotten victim of a brutal crime. One day while driving down a country road, Mildred decides to rent out three billboards and challenges the local sheriff by publicly mocking him with seven foot letters asking “Still No Arrests?”, “How Come Chief Willoughby?”, and “Raped While Dying”. Of course the public humiliation is not well received by Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) or his fellow police officers. Deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwall), a dimwitted racist hothead, in particular gets his feathers ruffled when he realizes Mildred is daring to challenge the abilities of his police force. Mildred is not only at odds with the beloved Sheriff and his officers but the town’s people as well who just want her to stay silent on her daughter’s murder.

The dialogue in director Martin McDonagh’s latest production is explosive, uncomfortable, often very funny, and quite memorable. The lines brilliantly delivered by the entire cast force the audience to see an issue from many different sides and how misguided people can be when they think they are always right. This is a movie that tackles head on things like racism, sexism, police brutality, and fake news (who could have predicted a movie like this would come out during our current political climate?).

The thing that will stand out most after watching THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI are the stellar performances by the entire cast. Don’t be surprised if Frances McDormand gets an Oscar nomination for her electrifying performance of a woman with a bone to pick.  The award-winning actress is amazing portraying a woman that is beaten down with grief but still manages to have the strength to fight a battle for a daughter that can no longer speak for herself. Delivering colorful profanity, McDormand curses her way through the film leaving a powerful punch at the end of each of her scenes. Woody Harrelson portrays a good and soulful man of the law and there is an especially touching moment when Harrelson and McDormand’s characters finally see each other as people for the first time. Sam Rockwall playing a character audiences will love to hate is another standout in the film. He is crazy good as the idiotic mama’s boy filled with anger issues. He plays a guy whose thought process defies logic and in the end still manages to surprise us.

Other members of the supporting cast are equally memorable. Peter Dinklage as Mildred’s wide-eyed suitor, Sandy Martin as Mama Dixon, Caleb Landry Jones as the weak and easily intimidated billboard owner, they’re just a few of the notable and unforgettable actors that add a rainbow of color for extra entertainment.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is a gripping if bumpy ride through small town America that highlights messy issues our society currently faces. This humorously raw film is a heartfelt look at how a person’s beliefs can lead them down an unexpected path that may lead to shocking outcomes. This is a wonderful bait and switch delight that will surprise audiences in the end and make for a lot of conversation once the tale is over.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is now playing in select cities, goes wider this weekend

Be Sociable, Share!

About the Author