Feb 9, 2018
By: Matt Kahkonen
Welcome to part 1 in my series of catching up on reviews that I missed out on due to the holidays. First up is Oscar favorite 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri' starring Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson.
'Three Billboards' is a sharply written dark comedy that is an excellent companion piece to director Martin McDonagh's 'In Bruges'. Both are hilarious films at times, but both deal with flawed characters going through some very fucked up and decidedly unfunny situations. In this case, Mildred (McDormand) is pissed off at the local police for their inability to solve her daughters rape & murder, so she rents some space on the titular three billboards.
What follows is a tense, funny, and a times, very sad film that introduces us to a town full of amazingly well written and fully developed characters. It's these characters and the fast-paced, witty dialogue that elevates the film above the status quo and into the Best Picture discussion.
I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention the excellent Carter Burwell score, which gives the film the feel of a sort of modern western...which it is in a way. Mildred begins as the heroic vigilante and Rockwell's Dixon is the corrupt deputy, but none of the characters in this movie fit into a simple box. They all evolve and go through some drastic changes by the end of things.
McDormand and Rockwell are all but guaranteed Oscars, and my money is on 'Three Billboards' pulling off the upset and winning Best Picture as well. It was at the same time one of the funniest and somber films of the year, and that's not an easy feat to achieve.
Final Score: 9.5/10