Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (15)

It’s been seven months since Mildred Hayes’ daughter Angela Hayes was raped and murdered. With no arrests and no culprit in sight, Mildred (Frances McDormand) has quite simply had enough. Renting out three billboards that haven’t been used since the 1980’s, Mildred doesn’t mince her words putting the blame solely on, in her mind, the incompetent Ebbing Police department. From this one moment of judgment sparks a story that twists, turns and leaves you wanting for more as the credits roll.

Anyone who’s familiar with the work of Martin McDonagh (In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths) won’t be disappointed here in this darkly funny yet uncompromising tale of middle America. A nice trait of Martin McDonagh’s scripts is his hardnosed language and little time is wasted – the C-bomb is dropped within the first five minutes. And with that, we’re already engrossed in the story.

Tough talk aside, the characters are ever engrossing as we not only understand Mildred’s journey for justice, but the tough job that the Police department face headed by Chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). As an audience we’re faced with a dilemma of who to root for and that grey area in morality is never more explored than in Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri.

The acting throughout is sublime (let’s not talk about Abbie Cornish’s Australian accent being out of place) and it’s no surprise that both Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand have just been nominated for Golden Globes. Rightfully deserved.

I wasn’t sure what to truly expect when the title card popped up for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but what proceeded was a thoroughly engrossing 115 minutes. I found myself laughing more than I have at any comedies this year, a credit to the sharp wit and dialogue of McDonagh. The story might feel unconventional in its structure but, in a world of predictable superhero sequels, I genuinely didn’t know where this story was heading. I was surprised, shocked and left feeling I’d seen a genuinely good film. More of these in future please.

By Jordan Barrett

★★★★☆

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is in cinemas January 12th 2018.

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