Thursday, November 23, 2017

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Movie Name: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Martin McDonagh
Stars: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry Jones, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Kerry Condon, Amanda Warren, Clarke Peters, Nick Searcy, Sandy Martin, Samara Weaving
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Crime
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
View Trailer

Following his previous directorial effort, "Seven Psychopaths", writer and director (and playwriter) Martin McDonagh is back with another original feature. The film focuses on the story of Mildred Hayes, a divorced woman living with her son in Ebbing, Missouri. Mildred is still coming to terms with the horrible and brutal murder of her daughter Angela, and decides to call out the mediocre performance of the local police department, by renting three billboards in a secondary road without much traffic. This initiative angers some elements of the police force, and also causes for some disputes to emerge in the small town, since the local police chief is well respected, but also dying of cancer. These billboards are particularly grating for officer Jason Dixon, a somewhat young police officer, whose temper seems to get the best of him, and who finds himself in trouble due to his clear antagonism with Mildred.
Martin McDonagh has made a career for himself with very successful and well received stage plays, but also with a slew of films that have found good critical response (in particular "In Bruges"). "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" has been playing to great acclaim across multiple film festivals. And one can easily see why - the film allows for Frances McDormand to play a character that is tailor made to her skills, namely a woman that is resolute, fiercely independent, calling events out as she sees them, intelligent and ferocious. The film also allows for the entire repertoire of characters (and the actors playing them), so shine, even in the smallest roles. It's a film that brings to life that small town, and how lives are intertwined, even if people are seemingly so disparate. It's also a film that mixes comedy and deep rooted drama, without creating characters that are simplified cliches and overly simplistic. If anything, it's a film that unfolds its narrative and its layers as the action progresses, showcasing interesting characters and situations that never feel gratuitous for the sake of being present. This mix of characters and subplots is also its downfall, since characters do come and go, but it's a film that works on multiple levels and gives its incredible cast an opportunity to shine. Worth watching.