THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
MARTIN MCDONAGH | USA | ENGLISH | 2017 | 115 MIN
One of the most anticipated films of the season, this darkly comic tale of anger and anguish rippling through a small Midwestern town stars Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell.
Few artists working today are more nimble and daring with tone than playwright-turned-filmmaker Martin McDonagh. In films like IN BRUGES and plays such as the Leenane and Aran Islands trilogies, McDonagh deploys humor and heartbreak almost simultaneously, unafraid to explore the incestuous relationship between the two. To an audience member his work is thrilling, a joyride of emotions that is both provocative and profound. His latest film, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, is his most assured work to date. McDormand stars as a flinty shopkeeper still reeling from the violent, unsolved murder of her daughter nearly a year ago. One day, in a fit of pique, she directs a blunt cry of frustration towards the town sheriff (Harrelson) in the form of three blood-red billboards reading “Still No Arrests?”, “How Come, Chief Willoughby?”, and “Raped While Dying.” This sends a shockwave blazing through the tight-knit community, and no one—not the mother or her son (played wonderfully by MANCHESTER BY THE SEA’s Lucas Hedges), the sheriff or his hotheaded deputy (Rockwell), nor their friends and neighbors—is left untouched. They all come together and are torn apart, fight and forgive one another while struggling with the vulgarities of life and death. McDonagh creates incredibly complex characters and situations, and his cast, which also includes Peter Dinklage and John Hawkes, gives stellar performances across the board. Throughout it all, McDonagh tempers his drama with a wicked sense of humor. Audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival (where the film won the coveted People’s Choice Award) often found themselves laughing and crying at the same time. It’s a remarkable experience and one that should not be missed.
CAST: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish
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