Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Film, Comedy
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(17user reviews)
Tres anuncios por un crimen es una de las películas nominadas a Mejor película
Foto: Cortesía de la producción

Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell are on sparkling form in this hugely entertaining and original grief-and-revenge tale from the writer-director of 'In Bruges'

There aren’t many writer-directors who could tell a story of small-town rape, murder, grief and guilt at the same time as taking you down all sorts of black-comic paths and having immense fun with the writing and acting along the way. But Martin McDonagh (‘In Bruges’, ‘Seven Psychopaths’) is one of them, and his bloody and ballsy third film, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’, takes his work to a new level of versatility and surprise.

It’s almost a year since Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand, on absolutely roaring form) lost her teen daughter to an unknown rapist and murderer. She’s angry, as well as distraught, and she pays for a series of disused billboards outside her town to carry huge posters asking why no one has been arrested yet. She points the finger at Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), simply because he’s the sheriff, and that makes her public enemy number one. Everyone takes against her, from her abusive and philandering former husband (John Hawkes) to a rash and racist hothead young cop, Dixon (Sam Rockwell, a blinding performance, brilliantly comic, but so much more). Even the priest sits her down for a chat. But she’s having none of it: she just becomes more determined to fight anyone who gets in her way.

From there, ‘Three Billboards’ takes all sorts of unexpected turns, and what starts off looking like a story of a wronged mother fighting for justice becomes much more muddy, unusual and meandering. Sure, she’s shaking things up, but is she going too far, and should Willoughby be taking all this heat? For one, he’s dying. And even Dixon might not be the gutter snake he seems. McDonagh showed in ‘In Bruges’ and ‘Seven Psychopaths’ that he can flip in a second between laughs and violence, but there’s a new layer of compassion here too. ‘Three Billboards’ plays like a country ballad that’s full of improvised riffs on old themes: its verses head off in different directions, some violent and swearing, others reflective or funny. It’s full of sharp dialogue and entertaining characters and fuelled by a wryly enlightened view of our world and how it can be at once cruel and caring. For a story built on such dark foundations, it’s weirdly reassuring. It’s also enormous fun.

By: Dave Calhoun

Posted:

Release details

Release date:
Friday January 12 2018
Duration:
115 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Martin McDonagh
Screenwriter:
Martin McDonagh
Cast:
Frances McDormand
Woody Harrelson
Sam Rockwell

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|17
1 person listening
Tastemaker

Don't be perturbed by the long uninspiring name. What it lacks in a catchy title it makes up for in content.

This film is a thought provoking, raw and emotional story focused on a mother whose daughters murderer still remains unknown a year after it happened. As the name suggests she rents 3 billboards to which she adds controversial messages about the chief of police. From there the story expands on a few key characters in the town causing you to love characters one minute and hate them the next. With dark humour and no real hero the film definitely gets you thinking.

To top it off Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell once again smash it.

A must see.

Tastemaker

Funny, shocking, violent, touching, this movie has it all and has a superb cast of actors and characters that don't play out typecasts, but behave like real people. It's slow and condensed in its subject matter but at no point doesn't engage, inspire and hold interest. A gem!

Tastemaker

Not sure how I feel about this film... when I heard 'dark comedy' I think "Four Lions". This was definitely not that. It WAS dark and it had some comedy. Oh well. The storyline was very well written right up until the very end ( I was not a fan of the ending, but I guess that is also a reflection of how life doesn't always neatly package things up for you) and the acting was amazing. 


I would not say I will be watching it again any time soon, but its definitely a film worth seeing. Just be ready to awkwardly laugh and then feel bad for doing so. 


tastemaker

I went to watch a film alone, yes alone!! Mainly because I really wanted to see this. 

So i took adventure of cheap Mondays and off i went on a VERY cold Monday. 


This film is fantastic, full of emotion and real raw acting. Without ruining the story it follows a mothers story of trying to find out who murdered her daughter. 


The story is harsh and the characters are strong minded and a true reflection of someone seeking justice in an area where hard crime isnt often seen. 

Watch it! 

tastemaker

Confrontational and dark - it makes you question your ethics as you root for characters you don't actually like but want them to win, to find solutions to their grief and to get closures.


A few friends were disturbed by the fact that this was something in 2018 - happening in a first world country, probably in the most powerful country in the world. I joked that these are the people who put a barbarian in charge of the red button.


And so we went on a roller coaster, hearts never stopped pounding. We debate every argument and find ourselves contradicting our long held beliefs.


That to me is the genius of this film - Mildred so angry, bitter and grievous - wanting justice for her daughter at any cost since the system has failed her.


And that's what we ask, what do we do when the system fails us and that's why this film is important. How far do we go?

tastemaker

Ignore the awkwardly long and somewhat bland title, this film is the best film I’ve seen in a long time. It certainly lives up to the hype and I’m so glad I saw it just before it left the cinemas.


I already knew the general premise of the story – mother of a murdered daughter is fed up with no progress in finding the killer and rents out three billboards to point out the fact that police haven’t done anything. And to be honest the storyline sounds a bit bland, if it wasn’t for all the accolades this film has received I wouldn’t have gone to see it.


The great thing about this film is it isn’t about the story. Most films would make a big drama about the rape and murder of a girl, the tragedy, finding the killer etc etc. And no doubt it would be a decent watch. What I loved about this film is that the storyline is background fodder, the real focus is the characters. We aren’t even shown who the daughter was until halfway through the film and to be perfectly honest I think that could have been left out as it wasn’t necessary.


The mother, Mildred, (incredibly acted by Frances McDormand) is a complete force to be reckoned with and I love her character: angry, bitter, but also proactive and caring. A really strong female lead in a small backward southern US town. Despite what’s happened to her, we’re not always on her side. Just like the “bad guy” - racist, violent cop isn’t always the bad guy. The film shows all sides of each character – the good, the bad and the ugly. And we get glimpses of some gritty issues – prejudice, racism, sexism, corruption but it’s never dwelled on. They’re just there in the background, as with real life.


A powerful, gripping film that won’t soon be forgotten. I’d definitely recommend it.

tastemaker

A truly sensational dark comedy, I implore everyone to take time to go and see this film while it's still being shown in cinemas. 


Personally, I'm not a big film buff, and I tend to only spend my time and money (why are cinemas so damn expensive??) on films that are highly tipped and critically acclaimed. Well, this is your boy. Frances McDormand gives an unbelievable performance. Her character couldn't be less like myself and yet I felt wholly attached and invested in her plight. For every bad character, there is a redeeming factor, which puts you in the unique position of silently rooting for every side.


This film is a true rollercoaster of the nitty-gritty that life can be. DO NOT CHOOSE FOR A FIRST DATE, or any date, really. 

tastemaker

Martin McDonagh strikes again with another sterling film, but this one is even better by letting the viewer really invest in the emotional rollacoaster of the story and characters. There were some real heartwarming moments amid the sheer devastation of Mildred's (Frances McDormand) life. The relationship she builds with William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) is both fiery and tender, and even though the campaign that she carries out is against him can be justified, it is clear these characetsr have an understanding, and throughout the film it is clear she is just as flawed as he is. 

The film made me think about how as a society we treat individuals who may not adhere to the majority, and through a lack of education, intolerance and perhaps neglect, both from the state and from family, are they necessarily 100% bad people. I think the answer is no. Officer Dixon, may be a racist, but Willoughby is right in his letter to him when he says his heart is in the right place. I felt the film took its time at really breaking the character down and his redemption was done far to quickly, none the less, it made me think and moved me, which is what I think any good film should do.

Tastemaker

I was worried about this film as the lead actress Frances McDormand is often in Cohen Brother’s films and I tend to think they’re utter cack, but three billboards is worthy of the Oscar nomination it has received, as is she for hers.


This film is a complete package for those looking for a hard, dark gritty plot and light-hearted smart humour. The story is well thought out, difficult to deal with at times - but it is smart. You are left with questions at the end, not just about the plot but about your own morality and beliefs about justice and choice.


The score is pretty great too, also worthy of its Oscar nod. It’s such an all-round excellent film and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t win big at the awards.

Tastemaker

Make no mistake, this film is as close to a perfect piece of movie making as I’ve seen for a very long time. From the tightly scripted dialogue – by turn sharp, harrowing & funny and without an ounce excess on its bones – to the beautifully melancholic score by Carter Burwell and the powerhouse performances from a cast who’ve never been better, I fell in love with the entire movie, with every single breath-taking, nauseating, alarming, disturbing, uplifting scene, a fact made slightly more unusual given that I’ve tried – and failed on repeated occasions – to watch and enjoy Martin McDonagh’s back catalogue.


As a mother raging with grief, McDormand proves why she’s one of Hollywood’s most formidable talents and come March 4th, it will be no surprise when the Academy hands her a brother for the Oscar she received twenty two years ago for ‘Fargo’. Blistering in her delivery of lines that spill off the tongue with razor sharp precision, she is truly magnificent and both equally supported by and supporting of similarly outstanding performances from the often under-rated Woody Harrelson and the utterly brilliant Sam Rockwell whose Dixon is one of the most repugnant & moving roles I’ve ever seen brought to life. 


The supporting cast – Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Hedges and Zeljko Ivanek in particular – are all so believable & reach-out-and-touch real that they bring colour to the small town, black and white mentality of great swathes of current day America; you can practically feel the heat, the fury, the danger radiating off the screen with their words and their often graphically violent actions.


This film won’t be for everyone – the language is ripe and it will be hard for some to get past the ideas that stir it into action – but it definitely applies to everyone, regardless of whether or not they choose to watch it. The questions of racism, of vengeance and of actions you condemn and condone are uncomfortable to consider but doing so reminds you that whilst this is a film, it’s also partly based on reality and very much located in the mind-set and the lives of a large percentage of Americans living today. Simply stunning and totally worth devoting two hours of your life to.



If you enjoyed the black comedy, violence and coarse language of “In Bruges” there’s plenty more of that in another splendid Martin MDonagh movie which examines the tensions and prejudices boiling away under the surface of small-town America.


Frances McDormand (pictured) is magnificent as an angry mother whose daughter has been raped and murdered. Foul-mouthed and domineering she starts a one-woman crusade against the local police boss played superbly by Woody Harrelson.


She hires three billboards accusing the police of inadequate action over her daughter’s case and this really starts the ball rolling.


And to further stoke up the action, the police chief, who is dying of pancreatic cancer, decides to kill himself rather than endure the final stages of the incurable condition. The townspeople’s sympathy for her evaporates.


Many other funny, tragic, and sometimes both, sub-plots add to the intricacies of the story but it is McDormand’s towering performance that dominates the film despite first-rate contributions from the supporting actors.


If ever a movie deserved to collect a hatful of awards, this one does. Absolutely brilliant!




tastemaker

Compelling, heat-breaking drama with a host of funny moments. Frances McDormand is excellent as grieving mother Mildred, she shows just the right amount of pain and determination from a woman whose daughter's rape case was never solved. The rest of the cast aren't too shoddy either, props to Sam Rockwell for his performance as Dixon and Peter Dinklage always makes me smile, although I wish he wasn't always the token dwarf and just another character in a film. This film is a shoo in for the next Oscars, beautifully shot, with heart at the centre.

tastemaker

Last year I found myself constantly referring back to Hidden Figures - a truly good film. This year, I have a strong feeling it will be this one. Director Martin McDonagh has excelled himself. Frances McDormand plays an angry, grieving mother. An Oscar-worthy performance. Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), tries to explain why his investigation into Angela's death has come to a halt seven months down the line. He has a soft, caring, understanding nature which shines through especially as he puts his affairs in order knowing that his cancer is progressing. Police Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell) ,is in the force for all the wrong reasons. Or is he? Great performance!

Renting three dilapidated billboards to voice her anger, Mildred spells out her concerns. Huge black words on an even more enormous red background. And so, like a rag to a bull, the community shows it's reaction to her actions.

There is anger. There is love of all descriptions: a mother's love; a son's love towards his mother; a husband and wife's love towards each other. And there is compassion. Deep, compassion. Yes, I shall be talking about this film for a long time to come.


Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, this is a razor-sharp and black as tar comedy of grief, bitterness and anger and their consequences when given free rein. The script is wonderful, as is the acting, and the enigmatic ending excellently emphasises the importance of rational choice in human behaviour. Poignant too that the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan plays as a distant backdrop to the action. Humour throughout is used as an antidote to unbearable pain and trauma - which is very Irish - and during a confrontation with a priest there is a verbal demolition of the role of the Catholic Church which is totally unforgettable. No doubt an Oscar awaits for Frances McDormand, and very well deserved. A great supporting cast too. Go see. 

Tastemaker

Good film, full of dark humour that pretty much all British people will love. At times, it took me back to those dark ‘Breaking Bad’ episodes.

However, I felt the ending could be better and give us a bit more closure.

Tastemaker

A thoughtful, engrossing examination of anger and the quest for justice--and how that can be far from straightforward. The humor is a bit sillier than in other McDonagh work (making fun of ditzy, attractive young women isn't terribly original), but still nicely leavens this quite somber plot. Very well written and acted.