Can Martin McDonagh do no wrong? Or maybe the better question is can Frances McDormand do no wrong? I went into Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri knowing practically nothing. I knew that Frances McDormand had been getting a lot of Oscar buzz, that this film was directed by Martin McDonagh, and that three billboards may be involved (hey, to be fair many indie films don’t necessarily evoke their titles).
And I wasn’t let down. What I know now after coming out of the film is that Frances will most certainly win her category at this year’s Oscars, Sam Rockwell will win for Best Supporting Actor, and a two-hour film can transcend its runtime and stay in your mind for days.
Three Billboards is a film best viewed for its sharply written characters, its stellar performances, and its smart cinematography. Sure, it’s not the most mind-bending location – or even an interesting one – but cinematographer, employs his know-how from his work on Marvel films like Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy, and moves you with his composition.
Yes, McDormand is electric in her portrayal of grieving mother, Mildred Hayes, but the surrounding cast is some of the best-working up and comers out there or thespians at the height of their respective careers. Aside from the aforementioned, Sam Rockwell, this film boasts notable roles for Woody Harrelson, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, and Abbie Cornish (with the roles for Jones and Ivanek at the top of their personal best). Sure, some of these folks don’t get a lot of scenes to really stretch their muscles, but they make the best of what they’re given.
The meatier characters are written in such a way that I don’t think I want to see any other type of writing in film ever again. McDormand and Rockwell as Mildred and Dixon, respectively, are two of the best characters to ever grace a film screen. And I would watch them endlessly if it meant that McDonagh would write their dialogue just as frequently.
In conclusion, some characters flourish while others are lacking, and the runtime does feel long at parts, but Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is one of the best films of this year. I haven’t seen as many as I would like as of yet, but I do know this is one to watch and it may very well place as a #ConTENder for 2017.
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