I have to start by saying that ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ arguably has one of the greatest movie scenes that depicts grief I’ve ever seen.
Starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, Caleb Landry Jones, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges and Peter Dinklage, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is the latest black comedy to come from Writer/Director Martin McDonagh (‘In Bruges’ and ‘Seven Psychopaths’).
It follows Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), a mother who months after her daughter was raped and murdered, hires out three billboards with a controversial message directed at the chief of the local police, William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), with the hope that the police will find the culprit. But when the deputy, Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell) gets involved, it results in a battle that spirals out of control.
Ever since I watched ‘In Bruges’ about six years ago, I have been a huge fan of Martin McDonagh. He manages to make some of the most thought-provoking movies, while also making them entertaining dark comedies and of course, original. To put it plainly, I’ve loved his other two movies for a few years (He only makes a movie every four or five years but they are worth the wait). ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is his latest movie and I feel confident in saying that this could be his best movie yet!
The first major positive I have for this movie is the brilliant writing. McDonagh has managed to write one of the most original and unpredictable Hollywood movies to come out this decade. What I mean by original and unpredictable is that I’ve never seen a movie quite like this. It has character arcs for characters who are often written as one-dimensional characters, so it makes each character feel real and it results in a great movie experience. The plot also goes in unexpected directions, with typical movie scenes going in a completely different direction than what you may be used to. This is one of the only movies where I truly couldn’t predict a majority of the plot.
Since I was just talking about well-written characters, I should move onto the performances, which are all just brilliant. Frances McDormand easily gives her best performance to date as a mother who will do anything that will result in justice for her dead daughter. She gives a great dramatic performance while also being hilarious at times. It’s a powerhouse performance that is getting a lot of awards buzz and once you watch her in this movie, you’ll understand why. Speaking of awards buzz, Sam Rockwell is also amazing as the racist deputy. At first, he seems like a typical one-dimensional, unlikable character, but his performance is beyond brilliant and his character and the journey that he goes on is one of the best character arcs I’ve seen in the last few years. It may be his best performance to date.
Woody Harrelson is also amazing as Chief Willoughby. His character also goes in unexpected directions and it does result in one of the best movie scenes of the year. Caleb Landry Jones shows us why he is one of the best up-and-coming actors in a great performance as the advertiser of the billboards. Abbie Cornish, John Hawkes, Lucas Hedges and Peter Dinklage are also all great here. Basically, every performance in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is amazing.
The directing by Martin McDonagh is also amazing. Every scene feels like it was made with care and perfection and it results in a well-made movie. The Cinematography is also great with some beautiful shots. There is also a tracking shot for a scene that I talked about at the very start of this review that ends up being one of the best tracking shots of the decade.
The score is also great. It’s a great mixture of classical, country and melancholic like music that results in a great soundtrack.
I can’t think of any big negatives that I had with the movie so I can say that it’s pretty much perfect.
Overall, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is a perfectly made movie that ends up being a prime example of the black comedy genre. It’s a unique movie that ends up being one of the most original and unpredictable movies of the decade with some of the best performances of the year. So, believe the hype around this movie and watch it as soon as you can.