Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri has to be one of the best films I have seen this year. A black comedy drama written and directed by Martin McDonagh. Starring Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes, Woody Harrelson as Chief Willoughby and Sam Rockwell as Officer Dixon. It premiered at several film festivals this year and the official USA release was November 2017. I have heard that the UK release date is sometime in January but I can’t find any official information about it.
Sam got tickets to a press screening at London’s Leicester square so after a quick pitstop we headed to the cinema.
Three Billboards, The Plot:
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri centres around Mildred Hayes, a mother whose daughter is brutally killed. Six months has passed and she feels that the Ebbing Police Department aren’t doing enough to find the culprit. They are “too busy torturing black folk” rather than concentrating on solving real crimes. So, she rents out three billboards in the hopes of antagonising them and provoking a reaction. In her eyes, the more you “keep a case in the public eye the better your chances of it being solved”.
The most important part of a story for me, are the characters. They absolutely need to be believable. They need not only a personality, but a well thought out back story and motives. Their texture and fabric needs to feel real.
The characters of Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri are fleshed out with their own thoughts, feelings and way of life. They have a realism that makes the story so good. You see the hidden facets that make a person a person. Their work, jobs, family life – all come together to make them a whole.
There were characters I didn’t like for sure, but they learned from their mistakes changed for the better and grew just like real people do and that is something that is difficult to achieve in film.
Being a film editor means I have an appreciation for the effort that goes into a film before you even get to the stage of editing. A film needs to be written before it is acted, shot or edited. Although Three Billboards is centred around a serious issue, it is a comedy and there are some amazing one liners! The writing in this film is witty and realistic without being over the top.
Have you seen it? What did you think?