Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri – Film Review

Rating : 3 / 5 stars

What’s it about?

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is a slow burn drama directed by Martin McDonagh, and stars Francis McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Peter Dinklage amongst others.

The film follows Mildred, tired of way the authorities have treated the investigation into her daughters murder, as she decides to hire three billboards and post messages questioning the authorities about their callous attitude towards her case. This public shaming opens up a lot of debate in the sleepy town of Ebbing with residents beginning to take sides in the proceedings. How this incident changes Mildred’s life and the life of everyone else involved is what the rest of the film is about.

What’s Good?

The strength of the film lies in its characters. They seem like well fleshed out, three dimensional , real people with their own strengths and weaknesses. There is no good or bad people in this film as most of them operate in a morally grey area while doing things that they believe is right. The three lead characters have very unique character arcs. One realizes the error of his ways, one’s journey culminates in a state of melancholy and one ends right in the place where they began. This gives the film a uniqueness that is fascinating to watch.  Also, due to its rural setting, the film manages to successfully touch upon various issues like racism, sexism and societal apathy that is unfortunately still prevalent in  our society.

What’s Not?

The pacing of the film is slow in places, and this could have been avoided. The humor in places feels a little forced, and because this is a serious film, anything that is not organic to the story feels out of place. Also, the film starts of as a mother’s fight for justice, but ends as a slightly different film. This kind of open ended climax may not work for everybody as a lot of questions  raised throughout the film are left unanswered.

Performances

The three leads in the film are absolutely amazing. Francis McDormand as the tough as nails Mildred seeking justice for her dead daughter is absolutely riveting. She deserves all the awards that are coming her way. Sam Rockwell as the racist police officer Dixon will make you cringe and hate his character in certain scenes, which is the mark of a great performance. Woody Harrelson, as Sheriff Willoughby, portrays an earnest man who has regret in his soul for not solving Mildred’s case inspite of  his best efforts, with great maturity. Peter Dinklage has a very small role and is completely wasted. Rest of the cast is good in their respective roles.

Final Word

A good one time watch about standing one’s ground for what he/she believes in despite all the resistance in the world.


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