Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Martin McDonagh continues his trend of making violent, crass, and comedic films that showcase the harsher and grittier side of humanity with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. His characters are often representative of our inner selves whether that’s our desire for revenge without caring about the law, being loose with our vices without worrying about the repercussions, or even being the most brutally honest version of ourselves without a care in the world. Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes was phenomenal. Her blue coveralls, undercut, and short disheveled pony highlight her rugged demeanor. Mildred’s sadness about her daughter is masked by her tenacity in keeping her daughter’s criminal case alive because if she gives up then the sadness, the guilt, and the self-hatred may overwhelm and destroy her.
Sam Rockwell once again plays a convincing role, this time as alcoholic, problematic Officer Dixon. Woody Harrelson is, surprisingly, not a scumbag in this movie as he plays Chief Willoughby who has done as much as he could legally do for the case without - as Mildred suggests - drawing blood from every male and testing it against the DNA found on her daughter. Peter Dinklage still shines in a supporting role as a gentle balance to the rest of the crass and violent characters. It's a nice addition to be able to recognize up-and-coming actors from 2017 films - namely Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out, The Florida Project) and Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird) - in Three Billboards as well.
Three Billboards is a combination of personal and community stories with a touch of the socio-political thrown in. There are multiple references to racism and police brutality. After Dixon beats up Red Welby, the owner of the billboards Mildred is renting, he states, “See Red? I got issues with white folks too.” Throughout the film we get details of the case, the night of the crime, and how everyone’s lives in the community are intertwined - there’s anger, resentment, sadness, grief, forgiveness, and redemption wrapped up in an impeccable but still human manner - McDonagh’s strengths seem to lie in the darkness we all hold.
At the risk of revealing too much of the story I’ll leave the review here. The Golden Globes won were well-earned and deserved. I will warn you - if you’ve never seen In Bruges or Seven Psychopaths, you’re not only in for a treat but a surprise as well.