THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is a darkly comic drama from Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh (In Bruges). After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson), the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated.
Simply put, this film is a masterpiece. It rides a totally different path from so many typical blockbusters of this day and age and into something a lot more out there in the best way possible.
Martin McDonagh is back in the director’s chair to shoot another of his amazing scripts out into the world with a reputation for other dark comedies like In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. Centring around a grieving mother who’s fed up with the arguably slack police force in her local town, failing to bring any justice or closure about the brutal demise of her daughter, it can’t be that easy to imagine how a premise such as this can be spun into comedy gold. However with some genuine outside the box thinking and many admirable risks, McDonagh has brought together what critics are calling “one of the best films of 2017”. As I walked out I heard someone say “outstanding” and if I had only one word to describe it then I couldn’t agree more.
Frances McDormand knocks it out of the park as, to say the least, bizarrely unlikable Mildred Hayes, each day bearing that horrific loss to have at your sympathies. She is fury and bitterness personified in perhaps the most hilarious way as can be. As difficult as it is to imagine the writing process for this role, bringing it to life has been pulled off to perfection.
Sam Rockwell nails the emotionally raw journey of aggressively simple-minded officer Dixon, careless and stupid but with more than meets the eye.
Unlike McDormand and Rockwell’s characters, Woody Harrelson brings on probably the more likeable role in the central cast as small-town police chief with heavy burdens to hold. He plays off well with everybody else in one of the most human sides to the story.
With such a dark and serious subject matter behind all the laughs, this probably isn’t a story for the faint of heart. What could’ve gone horribly wrong is a film that has been done in the best possible way carried by all of the right people.
DVD Releases: 9th May 2018
Duration: 115 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Starring: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Caleb Landry Jones, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage
Director: Martin McDonagh ('In Bruges', 'Seven Psychopaths')
The town where the movie is filmed is actually a small mountain town in western North Carolina called Sylva.
Frances McDormand was hesitant to take the role when it was offered, but was eventually convinced by her husband, Joel Coen: "Because at the time he gave it to me I was 58... I was concerned that women from this socioeconomic strata did not wait until 38 to have their first child. So, we went back and forth and we debated that quite for a while, and then finally my husband said, 'Just shut up and do it.'"
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Woody Harrelson described this as "Super Troopers (2001) meets Seven Psychopaths (2012)"
Martin McDonagh wrote the screenplay with Frances McDormand as the lead role in mind.
First feature film directed by Martin McDonagh not to star Colin Farrell