Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
A Film that will move you and haunt you. A Film that will make you cry and feel the loss of losing a child..!!
The film which is superbly written by Martin McDonagh is fiercely put forward and is stark real and this pleasurable tragic-comic mix stars a Frances McDormand who comes up with a stellar performance, maybe a performance of a lifetime. When you watch the film it is like a potent explosive ready to explode at any moment but which does not. The film also tickles your funny bone in a very unique and different way and the audience can easily connect and empathize with the protagonist Frances McDormand who plays a mother heartbroken after a tragedy with her daughter.
Revenge is the Purest Emotion..!!
As they say ‘revenge is the purest emotion’, the film stands true on this ground and the movie is about revenge, violence, heartbreak, and acceptance of the stark reality of a child’s death and its effect on her mother. The movie is subtle and understated and speaks more through silence rather than through words.
The plot takes place in a town by the name of Ebbing, Missouri which is a remote and unconnected community in the southern part of the United States. In this slow and sleepy town the joy of life seems to be receding and like any other small town everybody knows everybody else and there is an opinion on everything.
The movie is accompanied by brilliant musical pieces like The Last Rose of Summer and Townes Van Zandt’s country hit Buckskin Stallion Blues which give shape to the silences and give a hint of a sadistic romantic Irish feel to the screenplay. Also, McDormand gives her best performance since her last fantastic role as a pregnant police chief in the Coens’ Fargo in 1996
McDormand plays Mildred Hayes who is a middle-aged woman who is toughened and is no stranger to tragedy and at times adorns a bandana which gives her a look of a burdened and exhausted warrior.
The protagonist McDormand is separated with her husband Charlie played by John Hawkes, who now goes around with a nineteen years old pretty thing and Mildred works in a cornered gift shop and she lives with her son Robbie played by Lucas Hedges who is hurt and depressed about his sisters murder and rape and can’t get over it. He gets more agitated when Mildred puts up 3 billboards to rekindle the dying spark and hope of vengeance and revenge to finally catch the culprits who destroyed her daughter and her life.
An Act of Desperation..!!
Almost a year before Mildred’s teenage daughter was raped, mutilated, burnt and murdered and there have been no arrests which have taken place. So to highlight the issue Mildred rents out 3 out of use billboards just outside town in an effort to demand justice and ask why the town’s Police Chief has come to nothing with his investigations.
In an act of catharsis the billboards stand like crosses highlighting the pain, agony, frustration and anger of Mildred who just can’t come to terms with the reality of her daughters murder and rape and these billboards catch the attention of the local TV news channel and create astonishment and infuriation to the town authorities which is the very reason Mildred has put up the billboards for.
The police chief Willoughby played by Woody Harrelson is calm and cool and refuses to be provoked and is sorry as there is no progress in the murder-rape case and also has his own problems but his deputy Dixon played by Sam Rockwell is aggressive and takes a completely different view and want to get back to Mildred confronting her many times and even putting one of her mates in prison for possession of drugs.
The three billboards create chaos in the town as everybody turns against Mildred including the police and the Church officials and also a fat dentist and a woman with a funny eye as described by Dixon.
Frances McDormand’s facial expression convey with élan a person who has lost all hope, fears nothing but still has her heart in its place and is not beyond caring.
She is attractive and the town’s dwarf brilliantly played by Peter Dinklage has a crush on her, but also Mildred is well past her youth and is now a lonely single parent who is trying to get justice for the daughter she loved and cared for the most.
A Small Town Film..!!
The film showcases the psychology of small-town folks and almost everybody is blaming Mildred for the chaos and confusion which follows her putting up the three billboards. Chief Willoughby is a well-respected man and a do-gooder who helps one and all but is torn from guilt as he is not able to solve the case of Mildred’s daughter
The subtle humor, the pain and agony and the cathartic endeavors by Mildred which are accompanied by spasms of violence and rage have a disturbing effect but fit well into the movie and provide a plethora of emotions from fear to anger to hate to empathy. The irony and the melancholy in the situation is definitely unmissable.
The cops are neutral in this film and they are not bad nor good, they are just cops and do what they do. Dixon is a racist cop and plays a violent, rash and gun ready cop but turns into a do-gooder and helps Mildred find and avenge her daughter’s killers. Whether they are able to do it is anybody’s guess as the movie ends before the conclusion.
The movie does touch an emotional chord and the audience identifies and empathizes with Mildred as she is a lone woman fighting for justice and can’t get over the fact that she has actually lost her daughter violently and ruthlessly. The movie also touches on racism as Dixon is shown as a racist who gets a kick arresting and reprimanding black folks.
All the characters are soul searching and end up helping each other in the end. Mildred also burns down the police station and gets away with as a retaliation to the burning of her billboards out of town. Also, Chief Willoughby has cancer and shoots himself in the head at his home leaving behind messages, money, and letters to his wife, Dixon and also to Mildred. He can’t forgive himself for having failed to get Mildred’s daughters murderers.
The film is a brilliant cocktail of emotions, drama, and surprise and the screenplay falls flawlessly and effortlessly mainly due to the stunning performances of Frances McDormand and Dixon. The direction is brilliant and the way the gamut of emotions is handled is outstanding.
This film is definitely worth a watch for the many layers of emotions and the pain and suffering of a lost child murdered brutally and also how a mother can’t come to terms with it and seeks vengeance no matter what.