Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a 2017 Academy Award nominated film that stars Frances McDonald as a Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother, determined to find out the culprits in the rape and murder of her daughter. After seven months have passed and it seems that the police department are no closer to making a conviction, Hayes take matters into her own hand and decides to make a publicly display her anger in the form of three billboards (each rented) attacking the Chief Willoughby – played by Woody Harrison. Chief Willoughby is a hero in this town but he is dying due to an illness and the people of the town don’t take best to the billboards attacking him – least of all his second-in-command Dixon – played by Sam Rockwell. Hayes must fight the entire town, the police department and her own reservations about a man she knows is only trying to help her to try to get justice for her little girl. I thoroughly enjoyed Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and give it an 8.5 out of 10, or an A.
I am trying to review reviewing Oscar nominated films in time for the actual awards ceremony, I so far have reviewed Get Out, The Disaster Artist and Get Out, with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri being the fourth film I am reviewing. Out of all four of those, I have only given Get Out an A, with the other two getting an A-, I loved Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and I gave it an A on par with Get Out. Simply put, I loved Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (I am just going to shorten it to TBOEM because it is taking to long to write out). It balances comedy, drama and crime perfectly and with the cast giving some truly brilliant performances, as the filmmakers manage to perfectly balance my level of sympathy with each perspective of the argument by making me care for every main character, and giving each character a lot of depth, like Dixon.
Let’s start with what I liked, and I don’t say it much but I pretty much liked everything in this film. Having not read the book, nor watched any of the trailers I truly had no idea what this film was about. I only knew that it was nominated for quite a few Academy Awards, and that it had a stellar cast. Sam Rockwell excels as Dixon, even though he is a racist, with Rockwell giving a fantastic performance which will no doubt win him an Academy Award. I loved the use of dark humour, and how it added depth to characters, the comedy never felt like it was just there and always felt like there was a purpose. With, Dixon throwing the Welby (the guy that rents the billboards) out of the window showing how immature he was and adding some great depth to his character. Furthermore, I loved how they left it open-ended, and how they centred that even though they (Dixon and Hayes) couldn’t get justice for their own case, they both need to get some sort of justice and that guy needs it.
Each of the characters were perfect and their acts were also so perfectly integrated, Chief Willoughby was great, with his death being a genuine surprise and I expected him to be a major character in the film. I loved everything about the letters he wrote, with each letter showing his final thoughts and setting up the harsh reality to the Mum, as he knew that unfortunately justice was highly unlikely to come. I loved Dixon’s letter the most and how it was integrated within his story and how it showed how important the Chief was to him. The character depth and development in this film was perfect and the film hit the nail on the head with the development of Sam Rockwell’s character, his pain and suffering ultimately meant more than his actual death.
There were a lot of my favourite actors in the film, I loved Woody since True Detective, everyone loves Peter Dinklage and Sam Rockwell was one of the few positives of that dreadful Iron Man 2. This film was a perfect blend of drama, comedy and a lot of heart and we came to care about all characters and really struggled alongside them. It seemed were cared for and felt the pain of all the people from main characters like the Mother and brother, to people like Dixon and even to Wilby. Many of my favourite scenes were based around Sam Rockwell’s character and I loved the reveal to Sam Rockwell about the Chief’s death – perfect balance of comedy and sadness. he was just perfect.
That being said the film did come with some flaws, I honestly think more could have been given to Frances – I wish she had a stonger arc just so we can see more of her struggling just as we did in the Post with Meryl Streep. The film almost doesn’t decide who it’s main character was and this causes problems down the line as there isn’t a clear narrative, and because there isn’t a clear narrative there isn’t a clear answer. Of course, this was intended because they left the final resoultion up to you; and that was perfect but the lack of a spearhead I think did more damage to the film.