🎥 THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI • 2017 • Martin McDonagh • USA • Crime/Drama/Comedy
🍅RT: 94% 🔶MetaCritic: 87
IN A SENTENCE: Certainly the most I’ve laughed out loud in public this year, my packed-house screening was also a radically warm and hopeful experience.
REVIEW: Let me just put to out there. THREE BILLBOARDS is a film I love so much in that superbly subjective sense, that this review will be less than balanced. It’s pure wit and offbeat decency assure that I will shout its merits and whisper its faults, always acknowledging that Martin McDonaugh’s primary identity as a gifted playwright is the source of both. Out of one bummer of a premise (bilious grief in the wake of unsolved rape & murder), McDonagh crafts a film that is anything but somber. The writing which enlivens these quirky denizens of Ebbing, MO, is a miracle-mix of sharply wrought character development, dazzling wit, and humor ranging from gallows to the absurd. McDonagh proves that laughter can inhabit any space, no matter how mournful or uncomfortable. The film’s characters, even more minor ones, feel fleshed out, the weight of full biography behind them. Frances McDormand’s Mildred is to die for, of course, but it is Sam Rockwell’s turn as police officer Jason Dixon that consumes me. Against McDormand’s revenge and growth narrative, Rockwell’s redemption arc feels particularly glorious, and it’s spellbinding to watch McDonagh rescue such a revolting soul from what had to be certain damnation. THREE BILLBOARDS certainly contains some overwritten sequences. A certain flashback feels unnecessary, and McDormand’s encounter with a woodland animal feels forced. But you’ll hear not another quasi-complaint from me. I left the theater feeling like I’d lived a another short life, and that people, god damn it, might be OK after all. And oh how I laughed!