Movie Title: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 1 hr. and 55 min.
Who did I watch with?: Stephie
Where did I watch it?: Regal Stadium 12 – Swansea, MA
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a masterpiece and will likely win best picture. Martin McDonagh is the Daniel Day-Lewis of directing. He makes a movie every four years and it is pretty much a lock that it will be fantastic. Both of his previous movies In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths are grim movies with a message. But, they also have grace, humor, and fantastic performances from a stable of actors with which McDonagh is clearly comfortable.
The movie opens with Frances McDormand in the role of Mildred driving by the titular billboards. She goes to visit Red Welby who rents her the billboards for which seems like a ridiculous sum of money. She openly calls out Chief of Police Willoughby for failing to solve her daughter’s murder. The billboards are provocative and rile up the community though not necessarily the chief. Deputy Dixon takes the chief’s cause upon himself and begins a campaign of harassment against Mildred. Ultimately the scenario devolves into complete bitterness until a single destructive act forces everyone to confront the situation in a different way. It takes awhile, but everyone’s outlook changes.
While McDonagh’s movies are very dark, they are also very funny. The number of moments I sat in the theater laughing were numerous. This is for a movie that is ultimately about the destructive power of anger and the power of forgiveness. It has a serious message, delivered with gravity, but also levity. Every single actor puts in a phenomenal turn. Woody Harrelson is incredible as a small town chief of police, father, and husband. Sam Rockwell is phenomenal as an off the cuff, corrupt, police officer. Frances McDormand will likely win an Oscar and she deserves it. There are also a lot of excellent performances in small roles by Caleb Landry Jones, Abbie Cornish, Amanda Warren, Samara Weaving, and Peter Dinklage.
The movie is fantastic and as much as I was hoping for The Shape of Water to win best picture, I think that it is firmly out the window. See it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: Spotlight (2015)