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THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri

Say what you will about whether or not Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri deserved to win an Oscar for Best Movie, but don't doubt for a second that you'll find both enjoyment and insight while watching it.

Writer-director Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths) brings his dark and nihilistic humour to the story of Mildred Hayes, played by Frances McDormand. Mildred's daughter was raped and murdered. As the film starts, several months have passed since the crime and the police have made no progress whatsoever in tracking down the culprit - “they’re too busy torturing black folks”. Taking matters into her own hand, she pays local advertising executive Red (Caleb Landry Jones) to have gigantic posters hung on the billboards asking just why police chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) hasn’t yet made any arrests. Drama and comedy follows after her desperate gesture.

miss

"McDormand’s performance here stands alongside the Oscar-winning one she gave as the pregnant police officer in Fargo. She is superb as the stoical, strong-willed but vulnerable mother. Mildred isn’t just in search of vengeance. She is trying to make sense of an event so horrific that it defies any easy rationalisation.

Whenever her character risks becoming too introspective, there will be a flash of humour. We’ll see her ridiculing her abusive ex-husband and his jailbait-aged girlfriend with savage glee or cursing the photogenic news reporter who is always on hand to report on any new town scandal or misfortune.

Harrelson and Rockwell are also excellent. The former brings an unexpected tenderness to his role as the wise old police chief while the latter clowns around at first as if he is one of the Three Stooges but then develops a conscience. Almost everyone here suffers. Some characters are beaten up or burned to a near cinder. Some are bereaved. Others have terminal illnesses. People are intimidated. They lose their jobs and livelihoods." (Vulture)

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"On stage and screen alike, McDonagh’s worlds have always bustled with grotesques: his maddening second film, the mega-meta Seven Psychopaths, felt like a parade thrown in their honour. Dixon is far from the only one in Ebbing. Most of the place’s residents fit the description one way or another, from Mildred’s abusive ex-husband (John Hawkes) and his zookeeper trophy girlfriend (Samara Weaving), to our heroine’s admirer, a lovesick used car dealer played by Peter Dinklage.

The lone exception – and the film’s one weak spot – is the character of Willoughby’s wife (Abbie Cornish), who feels so weirdly at odds with the film around her that it’s hard to even guess at what the actress and McDonagh were aiming at." (Telegraph)

"“Here’s the thing about McDonagh’s movie: there is absolutely no repentance in it at all,” said another Academy member. “Everyone is intractable and in their own world. This is not In the Heat of the Night. This is about rage. The question the Academy voter will ask is, ‘What do these movies make you feel? Which one do you want to celebrate?’ I don’t want to celebrate Three Billboards.

What critics did agree on, at least after the initial viewing, was McDonagh’s approach to female rage—a force so overwhelming in McDormand’s Mildred Hayes that it permeates every cell of her being, from her clenched jaw to her denim war fatigues she never removes. McDonagh’s outsider gaze is a fair critique, but no one seems to be faulting McDormand for capturing a feeling many in America can relate to at this particular moment.

Added another Academy member, “I think the movie is a bit of a lovely mess, with extraordinary performances from Frances and Sam. And Sam deserves all the credit in the world for making that racist motherfucker sympathetic. People can be unsatisfied with how the movie deals with race, but it doesn’t make the movie racist.”" (Vanity Fair)

And of course, a snippet from The New York Time that sparked a lot of people:

The reason to do any barking — well, the reason for me — is that “Three Billboards” feels so off about so many things. It’s one of those movies that really do think they’re saying something profound about human nature and injustice. It’s set in the country’s geographical middle, which should trigger a metaphor alert. We’re talking about the sort of heartland populated by average-looking people meant to be made poetically interesting by their exotic brides (from Australia!), dying words (“Oscar Wilde”) and symbolically sadistic late-night film taste (one vindictive woman who isn’t Mildred is glued to “Don’t Look Now”). Individually, not one of these choices qualifies as a disaster. But they’re conflated here in a way that achieves a grating otherworldliness.

Tags:   news, recommendation, drama, film news, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Related:   Seven Psychopaths, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


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