I was late to jump on the bandwagon for a lot of things – I’ve only just bought a Furby. And, yes, I am already regretting it. I’ve dropped kicked the buggar down the stairs six times, and it’s still complaining about being hungry.
But they don’t get much later than giving a positive review for a movie that’s not only been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, but has already received Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Yet, here I am…
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is both an exceptionally lengthy title; already crippling my fingers typing it, but is also the darkly comedic story of Mildred Hayes, who seeks to start a fire beneath the local police department, after her daughter was raped and murdered. (Trust me – it is comedic.)
In an attempt to force the Ebbing police force to start investigating her daughter’s death, Mildred calls out the police chief, Sheriff Bill Willoughby on several billboards… I just can never remember how many billboards it was. While trying to appease Mildred, and keep the town’s morale up, Bill is also fighting his own battle with cancer. (Seriously; there is jokes in here somewhere. Please don’t think I’m a sicko.)
Boasting an all-star cast – including Academy Award winning Frances McDormand, Academy Award nominated Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell, who played Darwin, a guinea pig, in G-Force – this is Martin McDonagh’s fourth directorial venture, following the likes of In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. For anyone that’s seen Martin’s previous work, you’ll be aware that it’s a perfect blend of bloody violence and quick, brutal quips. That’s something Martin manages to master perfectly; it’s a fine-line balancing the gruesome nature of the premise, with the comedic moments. Frances is exceptional as the crude, crass grieving mother who insults anyone around her – calling her daughter the c-bomb hours before she’s killed – and yet she’s still bloody likeable.
As is the controversial Officer Jason Dixon. Played by a never-before-better Sam Rockwell, Jason is a racist, homophobic git who will beat up anyone in his path. Heck, at that rate, if he was a Republican, he could be Trump’s VP. I’d find it a hard push for Sam not to get the Oscar for his performance, as – much like the theme of Three Billboards – Sam is over-the-top comical yet intimidating.
Similar to McDonagh’s previous work (the less we say about Seven Psychopaths, the better), Three Billboards is a hugely unique story with surprising twists. Main characters die, unlikely friendships are formed, and horrible, nasty trinkets are priced as $7. Maybe I should have said “spoiler alert”? Right until the very ending, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri strives to make laughs and – most importantly – shock the viewers, and that is why I can say it’s going to be one of the best films of 2018.
Now, I should really go and feed that Furby, shouldn’t I?