Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Out Now On-Demand
Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell give Oscar-winning performances in this darkly comic crime mystery from the writer-director of In Bruges, following a mother who's fed up with her daughter's murder case having gone unsolved for months. To kick things back into gear, she buys billboard space in her small town and slams the local law enforcement. The film was nominated for seven Oscars in total which included Best Picture, Director, and Original Screenplay.
Best Actress (McDormand) & Supporting Actor (Rockwell), Academy Awards 2018; Best Picture (Drama), Supporting Actor (Rockwell), Actress in a Drama (McDormand) & Screenplay, Golden Globes 2018
Comedy, Crime, Mystery, Festival & Independent
Rating: R16 Violence, rape themes, suicide & offensive language
Writer/Director Martin McDonagh follows his uproariously funny In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths with that rarest of cinematic treats, an entertaining and stimulating movie, with a superb script, rich characters and a cracking cast. Think the dramatic power of Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men, and the outrageous humour of The Big Lebowski, and you’re within a billboard’s-length of getting the picture.
Frances McDormand plays Mildred. Her daughter’s violent murder has gone unsolved, so she rents out three old billboards on the outskirts of town, asking why there’s been no arrest and naming and shaming local Police Chief, Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), who has problems of his own. To say more would be risking spoilers for an unpredictable plot that twists, turns, shocks, surprises, confounds and delights.
The cast are simply stunning, McDormand and Harrelson own the screen, with Sam Rockwell hilarious and chilling as a redneck cop and mama’s boy, John Hawkes as Mildred’s ex-husband, and Peter Dinklage as her would-be beau. Every character is fleshed out, essential and avoids cliché, with even the worst possessing redemptive qualities.
Less convincing is Abbie Cornish as Willoughby’s wife, but that’s a minor quibble when the writing, direction, cinematography, editing and music are this darn fine. I can’t imagine seeing a better movie (not set in space) this year because Three Billboards is a stunning achievement. Featuring very adult themes and language, it’s a wild, dark, disturbing, laugh-out-loud funny, achingly serious morality tale, asking: where does vengeance end, in a world where violence begets violence, and what we do to others really matters.
Dark comedy drama fans rejoice and avoid spoilers, it’s a must see that will stay with you for days.
Rolling Stone (USA)
Time Out London
Keeping Up with NZ
Stuff.co.nz (Sarah Watt)
Almost perfect but
I'm just gonna say about the females in this movie. The playwright gets it so right with Mildred that he forgot that a town can actually have more than one well rounded female character. There was the intriguing wife of the cop - she was far to interesting to be set dressing. What was that Australian doing so far from home? What was the connection between Mildred and her co-worker? They were friends but we didn't know why. Go on give us a hint. Mostly though there was the dumb 19 year old. A woman doesn't ahve to be dumb in every way to fall for an angry man. Women do it every day. All she had to be was young. I think we knew enough of Mildred to disregard her assessment of of the dumb 19 year old. We could ahve made our own and been ok with a different outcome. But no she was the least plausible character in the whole movie. Just played for laughs really. Weak ones.
A story of retribution and redemption
A strong storyline and complex characters carry this western style movie to a rather unsettling climax. Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand shine while Woody Harrelson brings nothing really new to his character but does a solid job. I didn't love it as much as I expected from the reviews although Rockwell may have done his best work ever in this so there may be an Oscar for him. Overall a solid piece of film making but I would prefer to have left with an answer to the question which is the premise of the story.
Frances McDormand for the win
Of the three acting pillars in this light-hearted-yet-very-much-heavy drama, Frances McDormand delivers a really solid take on a strong-willed but hurting mother of a murdered daughter. It is the classic character arc of a protagonist out for vengeance, learning to forgive yet we are left wondering what will happen when the credits start rolling - a balanced way of tying the story up. Woody Harrelson is funny and clever but it feels like another generic Woody Harrelson role - just Woody Harrelson playing himself. Sam Rockwell's Officer Dickson is perhaps the more compelling of the two. Caleb Landry Jones and John Hawkes provide very strong performances. The story conveys the always relevant and universal theme of "life's too short to be angry all the time".
Great, but not quite there...
It's very funny and features some excellent work from McDormand and Rockwell. The film looks good and wins points for being fairly unique. I just struggled to find a way into this movie emotionally, because of the abrasive characters and the fact that it was so obviously written to within an inch of itself (not allowing room for organic plot developments). Well worth a watch.
Fantastic cast and compelling story but somewhat disappointing ending
The setup was great, the characters and performances were spectacular but some may be left cold by its ambiguous ending. I highly recommend others to check it out regardless due to the highly entertaining dialogue and how well the characters were fleshed out but for me, it could've had an ending that packed a lot more punch than it did.
Dark humour & a kick-ass cast
Fantastic movie, though not for the faint of heart. Deals with some pretty heavy. dark subjects but inserts plenty of laughs & some hope of redemption to balance the darkness. The cast is packed with brilliant character actors. Frances McDormand is excellent as usual, able to make you laugh at her no-nonsense approach in one scene & the next scene break your heart in the face of her grief. This film is real & substantial & thought provoking. Highly recommended.
Really loved this movie. Great characters and thought-provoking storyline. Always enjoy a movie where I can laugh and cry.
Just as I expected from the man behind In Bruges. Engaging to the last minute, darkly comical with plenty of genuine heart-wrenching emotion. It's exactly what the title suggestions - different and memorable. Highly recommended!
An epic journey of vengeance
Incredible performance by Frances McDormand – the blunt raw emotion of a mother whose life has been turned upside down. The power of vengeance through some dark themes with bursts of humour shining through to lighten the mood throughout. Incredible cast with incredibly endearing characters. A++