If you’d like to see what happens if you threw In Bruges and Fargo together then you will probably like this.
- Screenplay by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths)
- Directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psyghopaths)
- Starring Francis McDormand (Fargo, Moonrise Kingdom), Woody Harrelson (Natural Born Killers, War for the Planet of the Apes) and Sam Rockwell (Moon, Seven Psychopaths)
- Budget of $12m
My initial thoughts
A crazy and reckless film; it is everything you think it is and much more. Much like the three billboards, this film creates a wave of emotions; McDonagh has created a thrilling dark comedy.
The ‘ccc’ review
Months after the brutal murder of her daugther Angela, Mildred Hays (Frances McDormand) is still living a nightmare, knowing that the killer is still out there and the police, in her mind, not doing enough to solve the case. In order to raise immediate awareness, she decides to speak directly to the policeman in charge, via three billboards (In Ebbing Missouri just to be clear) and simply asks –
“And still no arrests.
Despite the subject matter, it was very enjoyable and refreshing to actually watch an original idea for a film (not too dissimilar from another recent favourite movie that is in the Oscar running….). This is no reboot or a retelling of a true story (well McDonagh was inspired to write the movie after seeing billboards about an unsolved crime while traveling “somewhere down in the Georgia, Florida, Alabama corner”…but we won’t dwell too much on that). This is, somewhat perversely, a funny film.
Directed by Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths, In Bruges), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is something akin to a revenge Western – an angry renegade (Mildred Hays) is seeking retribution against someone (the police) who has wronged them – but set in the modern age. Even the amazing, yet simple score to this film is reminiscent of the classic genre.
The brilliance of this film is that it doesn’t simply become a murder mystery or become fixated on the daughter’s murder. It is chiefly about a mother’s drive to have her voice heard which has a profound impact on almost all the characters in the film one way or another. You are not sure what you are watching but that’s what makes this film so great – it doesn’t keep to colouring within the lines of a confined genre and why should it?
To be able to produce a film of this calibre, with the way it was written, you need a cast who deliver some of their best ever performances – and that’s what they do.
Frances McDormand (Oscar-winning actress from Fargo) gives an incredible performance as the impassioned mother who is seeking answers….However the more she seeks to protect her billboards the angrier and twisted McDormand becomes. Woody Harrelson, who plays the torn Chief Willoughby, is brilliant as the conflicted policeman trying to help with the case and trying to deal with Mildred herself! If you aren’t impressed by the performances of the first two, you will definitely enjoy watching Sam Rockwell’s star turn, albeit as a racist cop. Some of his scenes with his domineering mother and at his work desk are some of the most entertaining you will see this year.
What are my final Thoughts
The first original film we have seen so far this year and it proved that with big risks can come big rewards – and this film is being rightly recognised for it. There will be at least one performance you will enjoy if not the whole cast.
🎥👌Definitely worth a watch especially if you want to watch something original!!