One of the most talked about films for this Oscar season has been the orginal and captivating drama,Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. This crime drama follows Mildred (Frances McDormand), an angry mother who challenges the local police to solve the murder and rape of her daughter after their failed attempt to catch the man responsible. Her bold endeavor not only ruffles some feathers, but also provokes the chief of police (Woody Harrelson) and his right hand officer (Sam Rockwell) to question their own actions, even beyond this controversy. It is a story of taking action that can only be explained by feeling true grief.
Frances McDormand’s performance in this film is nothing short of perfection, as the no-nonsense mother determined to prove a point and get answers. Her demeanor, sarcasm, and passionate drive to be heard at any cost are truly what make this film as good as it is. Also, the supporting roles of the always great Harrelson and the perpetually brilliant Rockwell bring the story and characters to life in a way that has rarely been done before.
All of these characters, while protagonists in their own right, show extremely flawed sides to themselves at various points. Though even during those moments, none of their impulse actions ever take away from how much you feel for each of them. That, in my opinioin, is where this movie shines the most. You see raw emotion of every kind, taking you through the high and low points of the characters as they experience the backlash of their choices.
The town of Ebbing itself seems quite telling of those who inhabit it; it is filled with prejudices, lawlessness, and is something of a way station on to better places. You can’t help but feel as if this is the exact representation of the characters and their personal journeys- broken down, plaugued with imperfections, but trying to just be what it is and stay alive in spite of its tragic past and present. It is a beautifully mirrored image of what unfolds.
If there is any potential drawback of the film, it is the pacing. It tends to linger at parts that don’t seem to be as essential to the story, and in turn does not explore some storylines and characters as much as it could. The film definitely has a few surprises, and at times will leave you wondering what will become of certain people and situations. But above anything else, you will feel like you are on the same journey for justice and closure, all the way to the end. The movie will make you angry, sad, hopeful and inspired, which is exactly what we need from a story such as this.
I highly recommend this film, and fully believe that all the awards and nominations it has received are well-deserved. We need to give films like this the praise and attention it deserves.
Rating: 2.5 Burning Billboards out of 3 (83.3%)