Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri UK, USA 2017 – 115min.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
After months without progress in the investigation into her daughter's death, Mildred Hayes takes matters into her own hands, posting a controversial message about the highly respected chief of police on three large billboards at the edge of town.
After his excellent debut film In Bruges released in 2008, and his less memorable Seven Psychopaths released in 2012, director Martin McDonagh returns with his third feature film: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Winning the Audience Award at the last Toronto Film Festival, and the Best Screenplay Award at the Venice Film Festival last September, the British film is one of the big favourites for the upcoming Oscars. A more than deservedly so.
The movie is very gripping from the very beginning. Surrounded in fog, the three old billboards that line the road to Ebbing, Missouri are scrutinized by the camera, brought to life by opera music and thus exposed as characters in their own right, making up the heart of the story. As he confirms his talent for directing and mise en scène, Martin McDonagh, who also wrote the script, confirms that he is above all a sublime storyteller. As evidenced by hilarious dialogue offered up by the obliviously prejudiced character of Sam Rockwell (excellent) and the cynical lead (the amazing Frances McDormand), Three Billboards is much more than a comedy. Skilfully written, the movie quickly sets itself up as a dark, powerful drama, where none of the characters comes out unscathed. One of the film's great scriptwriting strengths is that it never takes sides as far as its characters are concerned. By making them all go head to head, the movie succeeds in uniting them.
An admirable combination of cynical humour and drama, this film is at once dark, funny, moving and deeply human, repeatedly blowing the audience away. A great movie.