DIRECTOR: Martin McDonagh
Straight away you know you are about to view an offbeat film where characters are intriguing to watch not just interesting. You know the story won’t be a run of the mill drama but a weird sense of cool drama that will draw you in til the end. How do you know that? What film is named Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and expects to be normal?
This film is already a 2018 favourite. Simply on how well everything is executed especially the characters that are in the “Far too weird basket” and you’ll run away from them in real life but watch them on screen with a smile.
One of the opening shots when we see Mildred Hayes (McDormand) is driving past three broken unused billboards. An idea springs to mind. She uses the billboards to provoke the local police to do their job. What aren’t they doing? They’re not finding the rapist and murderer of her daughter Angela.
Mildred has a very individual perception on life. She is strong willed, stubborn and doesn’t care about how the job gets done, as long as it gets done. It’s the job and method of the local police, or in this case Chief Willoughby (Harrelson) and Jason Dixon (Rockwell) that is under spotlight.
The signs read RAPED WHILE DYING”, “AND STILL NO ARRESTS?”, and “HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?”
Dixon is an unusual character, expertly played by Sam Rockwell. Dixon is morally chaotic and it shows. The Police Department think of him slightly differently and only Willoughby sees something in him that others don’t. Some scenes are tough to watch because of how anger is used in the film and how we pick a side to the comic timing and awkward moments of anger.
Willoughby is the man who’s name is on the billboard, you see him trying to do what is right but Mildred has her ways. Regardless of his terminal cancer, we watch him gripping with the unsolved murder mystery and his resolution to Mildred.
Mildred wants justice but is it revenge? Her anger is being channelled in ways beyond grievance. This is a film that hides in the grey of black and white morality. It’s director McDonagh wants you to make a decision about what you’ve witnessed.
Are you sympathetic or judgemental of this circumstance?
Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes
Woody Harrelson as Chief Willoughby
Sam Rockwell as Jason Dixon