Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri DVD review

The social satire and champion of the people film is released to DVD…if not an Oscar for best picture its the least they could do. Ebbing, Missouri is as quiet and calm a place as could be imagined from the outside. Then three abandoned billboards have signs erected: “RAPED WHILE DYING”, “STILL NO ARRESTS?”, and “HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?”. Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) has had them put there. She is grieving the rape and murder of her teenage daughter, Angela. Seven months without a lead on the case and she has broken. Chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and Officer Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell), the latter being a racist and a violent alcoholic and the former is dying from terminal pancreatic cancer. This sets up a major antagonistic relationship.

 I didn’t like In Bruges. It is a dull, self involved tale that would make any film wannabe excited. I really,  really liked Seven Psychopaths however. It is a nuanced and clever swipe at self involved people. Martin McDonagh 3 Billboards is a strange beast compared to these. It is a film that is unchained from conventions.The script often seems to disconnect events into individual moments that are built around a fixed motif, those three red billboards. Feels like a political film that wants to promote personal action. Spikes and slices like a satirical mantra about the position of American society and America the ideal. All this stands aside when the central story (that is primarily a film about redemption). because it works best as an emotional drama. You lose nothing in positioning it that way. Even within the series of events that are disassociated, you never stop feeling connected to the cast. Macdormand for instances plays an irritating, vengeful woman but her emotional state never fails to connect to us. We feel her pain and frustration. Director McDonagh seems to have also peopled the film with actors that understand how to resonant emotional or empathetic qualities.  3 Billboards has revenge, isolation, comedy and indifference. It also has to be watched…

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