Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri Review
Updated: Feb 19, 2018
After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby, the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command, Officer Dixon, an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle is only exacerbated.
This film caught my eye at first sight of the artwork and a few short clips featuring Frances McDormand's character. I instantly knew it was up my street, being set in a U.S. midwestern town with a small but powerful cast. I deliberately didn't watch the trailer as I don't like to know too much before seeing any film let alone a gritty drama like this, but I did find out it was written and directed by Martin McDonagh who is responsible for Seven Psychopaths and In Bruges. I was also aware it was developing a buzz ahead of award season so I was inline at the cinema on release day and let me tell you I was NOT disappointed.
The dark and gripping storyline absorbs you from the start as we are introduced to Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) a suffering mother trying to get answers and revenge for her daughters brutal murder. 7 months have passed and there has been no progress in this small town investigation, filled with frustration and drenched in grief and guilt, Mildred puts all her energy into an attack on the sheriffs department. She rents the 3 unused billboards in question to display a message to the law that can not be ignored. An obvious outrage ensues within the town and the Sheriff (Woody Harrelson) and his officers attempt to reason with Mildred but lose cannon officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell) adds fuel to the fire and things get pretty messed up.
It's a fabulously written and directed piece of drama, with remarkably raw dialogue that will have you laughing one minute and gasping in shock the next. There's also a couple of sudden shockers that will have you covering your eyes or squirming in your seat (unless you are made of stone), these are what makes this genre of film and in particular this writer/director so engaging.
The whole cast gave winning performances and the film rightfully won 4 Golden Globes and has now been nominated for 9 Oscars including Best Actress – Frances McDormand, Best Supporting Actor – Woody Harrelson & Sam Rockwell, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. If it was my vote that counts then this would be the clear winner for 'Best Picture' however I have only seen 3 of the 9 nominated films so we will see...
A solid 9.5/10 for me it's a must see!
Watch the trailer here:
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Review by Gemma Bond