“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” marks a milestone for writer/directer Martin McDonagh and is an idea piece on a mother’s struggle with her town after posting billboards containing a call to action in regards to her murdered daughter. With outstanding screen writing and near perfect editing, this powerhouse of a film is easily one of the best all year and is driven with force and intensity by its lead, Frances McDormand.
What begins as a narrow and focused drama, gradually escalates to a film with big themes and ideas, relevant social commentary, and much more subplots than anticipated. “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” is packed with questions and a few answers about anger, revenge, violence, and kindness. The story shows people in a realistic light I’ve never quite seen before. We’re presented with characters and their genuine emotions. Nothing feels sugarcoated of fluffed but it never lacks emotional impact either.
The movie balances its seemingly contradictory tones beautifully by crafting a dark comedy that feels heavy due to strong subject matter, while at the same time, utilizing comedic moments that feel completely natural to the character’s motivations. It’s obvious great care was taken into this script and the method in which it’s constructed.
One of the most talked about elements to this film are the strong performances; particularly by Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell. Rightfully so, this is some of their best (if not their best) work these eyes have beheld and they steal the show in every film they’re in. That’s not take away from Woody Harrelson and Lucas Hedges, as well as the entire cast who give memorable performances and paint shockingly believable characters that we feel we know personally.
If there is anything that might turn audiences away from this film, it might be its harsh subject matter despite none of it every being depicted as well as its language and execution with the material. Personally, this has a strong impact and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it. It’s a highly recommended film with a lot to ponder at the end and is definitely a contender for best movie of the year. Definitely don’t miss this one.