I am going to start off by saying that this was easily one of the best films of 2018. It is dynamite and will blow you away. If you haven’t seen this film might I make a suggestion? Watch it. Even if you don’t think it’s for you, this picture may just change the way you perceive and resonate with filmmaking, especially screenwriting in particular.
This is only Martin McDonagh’s third major directing debut which managed to take home 5 BAFTA’s, 4 Golden Globe’s and 2 Oscar’s this year. McDonagh’s other titles include; In Bruges (2008) and Seven Psychopaths (2012), both intelligently funny – a commonality displayed in his work. McDonagh has become one of my ‘one to watch’ directors/screenwriters all because of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. I hadn’t seen his previous two films before Three Billboards but was curious to see what this guy was all about. Needless to say, I am a fan!
Anyway, let’s talk about Three Billboards.
Local law enforcement failed to catch her daughters killer. Now, a grieving mother, unable to give up hope, confronts the local police department in an elaborate attempt to get justice.
Three Billboards opens up with a punchy dose of sharp dexterity and smartassery but naturally ascends into the deep reality of human nature. The bittersweet challenges of life and the reality of society, all-the-while dealing with injustice, grief and a mothers instinct to protect.
Frances McDormand is brutally fantastic. Director and writer Martin McDonagh disclosed that he had in fact written the script specifically for Frances to play the part of Mildred. Her no prisoners attitude ensured her big wins at this year’s awards ceremonies (including the Oscar for Best Actress) and allowed her to explore and completely immerse into this character as an entirely hacked off mother seeking justice (and revenge) for her daughter via local law enforcement.
Supporting her role are Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell (both had previously worked on McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths). Chief Willoughby (Harrelson) is deemed responsible for not catching the culprit, his punishment and torment comes in the form of three big red billboards just before entering Missouri. Dixon (Rockwell), becomes central to the whole plot – without divulging the whole story – he is the racist, violent, ‘idiot’ officer looking for any excuse for a fight. The character development takes an interesting turn for both actors in the film and brings the whole story to fruition. Other cast members include; Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird), Abbie Cornish (Seven Psychopaths).
What ultimately sealed the deal for me was the script. If a film has that ability to completely capture my attention for the whole 1 hour and 55 minutes of cinema time then bravo! It is a film without apologies. Personally speaking, I feel as though McDonagh is asking the audience to take what is given and run with it, until the end, then make judgements. A certain level of maturity is warranted upon viewing this film given the nature of it’s controversial, non-PC content. The clip below illustrates this perfectly. Viewer discretion is advised…
Albeit, this film is not for everyone. What we have here is a film that is versed in the ways of maturity but still manages to entice and entertain its audience. A fist-full of emotions embedded with dark humour throughout, Three Billboards is almost a piss-take, but at the same time realistic viewpoint on the politics of life as society as we know it. A no-bullshit excuse, leave your sensitivity and ego at the door kind of film.