Review: 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (MA15+)

Ashwini SaseedaranSouth Western Times

Movie Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. (MA15+) Rating: 7.5/10

For those looking for a crime drama that goes above and beyond in telling a story from an entirely different perspective, then Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is one to bookmark.

Instead of focusing on the crime itself and a cat-and-mouse chase to find the killer, this film entails the crime’s aftermath and its subsequent effect on the families and communities involved.

Frances McDormand’s portrayal of Mildred Hayes – a hardened mother dealing with the murder of her daughter – is enchanting as she determinedly questions the law and its enforcers with an unrivalled sense of strength and diligence.

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Months after no leads in catching the killer, Mildred hires three billboards and paints them red, directly questioning local policeman Bill Willoughby.

This brazen act causes a series of events where she battles with the police and community in her fight for justice.

A second narrative follows chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) who deals with his own battles while trying to keep the peace.

Straight-as-an-arrow and ultimately a do-gooder, Willoughby helps others along their journey of personal development like the third narrative of officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), who transforms from a self-righteous hothead into an essential part of the story.

Director Martin McDonagh’s work allows for the actors to fully explore their character range which pulls the audience into understanding the evolution of each personality.

Another impressive feature of this film is its upending of usual scenarios typical of crime dramas as they are instead offloaded by darkly comic dialogue, graphic brash violence, unapologetic language and a presentation of blunt reality.

The beauty of this film lies in its supercharged script and raw lead performances that eventually comes full circle – a tale of crime, suffering, conflict and doubt ends in peace, contentedness, unity and hope.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri shakes its viewers in recognising a harsh yet poignant reality of the possibility of peace without answers.

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