THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is a darkly comedic 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, commissioning 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.
What We Thought:
I’m a big fan of Martin McDonagh and his brother John Michael McDonagh. Martin’s In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths are two of the better films of the past ten years so I was highly looking forward to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. So what did I think of the movie? I liked it, but didn’t love it.
Of his three films, Three Billboards is Martin’s third best. That’s not a huge negative because I like his first two films a lot. Three Billboards is a lot more serious than the previous two films. It’s a dark comedy like the others, but it’s not as laugh out loud funny as I found the first two films.
Frances McDormand plays a mother whose daughter is raped and killed. She doesn’t think the local police are doing enough to find the man who did it so she rents three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri calling out the police’s lack of action especially the local chief played by Woody Harrelson. Sam Rockwell plays a cop who is more Barney Fife than Vic Mackey. The town doesn’t know how to respond to the billboards and McDormand’s character decides to take matters into her own hands even more.
The thing is, I’m not sure what I would change or add/subtract from the movie to make it better. McDormand is great. Harrelson and Rockwell are their usual great selves. It has a strong supporting cast of John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones and more. The story is something we’ve never really seen before and it has good direction. I just don’t know what it’s missing to be great or if it could be great. I walked out enjoying it, but not praising its awesomeness.
Even though I didn’t love There Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri it still might make my top ten films of the year. It’s been a bad year for movies and there’s nothing exactly wrong with this film in the first place. It is well acted, well directed, has an interesting and original story. It’s a great movie for adults who are tired of or simply don’t like comic book movies. If you like McDonagh’s work, definitely check it out.
Cast & Crew:
- Frances McDormand
- Woody Harrelson
- Sam Rockwell
- Abbie Cornish
- Lucas Hedges
- Željko Ivanek
- Caleb Landry Jones
- John Hawkes
- Peter Dinklage
- Writer/Director Martin McDonagh