Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Directed by Martin McDonagh
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 12th January 2018

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

A view that director Martin McDonagh ‘uses violence as a creative tension in the film’ is an apt comment on the continual use of violence in American cum Hollywood movies.

It is difficult to empathise or feel any sense of emotional warmth for the main protagonist Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), who is seeking justice for the rape and murder of her daughter several months previously.

This is particularly so when she instigates a major arson attack using five lit projectiles and had previously viciously kicked a young woman in the groin.

The scene where she makes derogatory remarks to her daughter before she sets off for the last time from home, prior to her slaying, are also cringe-inducing.

Even worse, with the approval of McDonagh, she adopted the persona of a character, as if fashioned on John Wayne. Good job there were no Native Americans featured in the film!

Nevertheless, the movie is multilayered in its storytelling, veering off in different directions throughout.

There are several notable acting performances but alas not from Woody Harrelson, who plays Willoughby, the town’s sheriff. His performance lacked any semblance of charisma, almost as if going through the motions of playing a cop in charge of a undisciplined and racist police squad, including his deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwell).

Three Billboards is almost biblical in tone. There are references to ‘anger begetting anger’ and ‘hatred feeding on itself’, which symbolises America and the world in general in present times.

Even the last scene in the film embodies those two sayings. Hayes and Dixon drive off together, not into the sunset, but to perhaps administer justice on behalf of Mildred’s daughter. But you know almost inevitably they will wreak revenge on the wrong person.

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1 Comment


  1. This is a fantastic film for anyone thinking of seeing it. Every review by Colin is difficult to stomach as he just misses the point each time. It’s a shame he’s also given away the ending. I will make a point of not reading his reviews in future.

    Reply

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