Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri shows that a serious subject and dark humour make for a good combination. This film really did blow me away, I mean I knew it was going to be good but…not that good! McDonaugh had my undivided attention immediately, and he didn’t let me go. Not once. That in itself is a damn achievement.
The mother of a daughter who was raped and murdered rents three billboards as a way of getting the police’s attention to find the killer. Sounds like it should be boring right? So you bring in the writer and director of ‘In Bruges’ and ‘Seven Psychopaths’ to mix things up a bit. What he has managed to conjure up is the perfect equilibrium of depressing real-life situations with dark humour in order to create a story about grief.
You may not necessarily agree with Mildred’s methods yet it evokes sympathy, you empathise with her. Her cold harsh exterior disguises the sadness and sorrow within. When I say harsh, I mean she is savage. Dropping F-Bombs more frequently than a B-2 Stealth, she obliterates anyone in Ebbing who gets in her way…and it is so satisfying to watch. I don’t condone large usage of profanity in a script, but when it’s put to ingenious use it somehow brings a smile to my face. “Yeahhh, kick them in the crotch!”. It’s a strange trait that actually complements McDormand’s portrayal, and wow did she blow my mind. She was devastatingly outstanding to which I’m sure she will win many awards. Her serious demeanour just added to the hilarity of this dark comedy.
Rockwell was hilarious as the local idiot officer and also deserves recognition. Harrelson provides some much-needed heart and emotion as the chief of police. McDonaugh’s best directing effort thus far. The musical score was well suited to the rustic town of Ebbing. I do think the ending could’ve been cut short by about 5 or 10 minutes, and very occasionally the pacing dips. Very minuscule criticisms for a near-perfect film which I’m sure will be even more enjoyable after a repeat viewing.