Tuesday, 30 January 2018

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" - The 2017 Film - A Review by Mark Barry...






"...You Just Need Love...Listen To Your Heart..."

Just come from the cinema and like the entire audience - the better half and I were quietly blown away by the hard-hitting, wildly funny and genuinely heart breaking - "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri".

I’m also reminded of "Darkest Hour" in that all the talk is of Gary Oldman and his amazing central performance – so too here it’s Fargo’s own Francis McDormand – ragged and boiler-suited and burning with an inner rage at the unsolved loss of her daughter savagely taken from their family seven years earlier. But while McDormand gets the juicy lead role and is allowed to scene steal as her character Mildred Hayes gets to kick local lazy-assed racist cop butt at every possible turn – like "Darkest Hour" it's the support cast and their unexpected character arcs that absolutely lift this movie up into something really special indeed.

If I was to single out anyone – it’s the local sloppy cops. Both Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell have put in great performances before in a huge array of Movies/TV - but here they've been given parts as the Chief of Police Willoughby and his not-so-bright sidekick Officer Dixon that make them glisten – roles that will have even the most weary of film-buffs renew their admiration for this mighty pairing of actors. And just when you think you know exactly what their characters are (a whole community stained and brutalised by a callous horror they'd rather forget) – they climb out of their personal holes and grow right in front of your eyes (you could feel the audience enjoying the rich writing). Clocking up what has to be career bests in the same movie - both Rockwell and Harrelson must surely be up for statue glory come the 2018 awards season.

But perhaps the biggest winner here is the stunning Script and Direction from Martin McDonagh (the Script especially). McDonagh wrote the brilliant and acidic "In Bruges" that starred Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell and also helmed "Seven Psychopaths" where the British Director first worked with Sam Rockwell - so if you know those excellent movies - you'll know his penchant for crude and rude spliced and diced with brains and real-life pathos. "Three Billboards..." offers more of that same freshness and manages to surprise you too.

Throw in quality actors and great dialogue for the likes of Peter Dinklage, Abbey Cornish, Caleb Landry Jones, Zeljko Ivanek, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Amanda Warren and even a small but sweet part for Ireland's Kerry Condon (the lady jockey in the TV series "Luck") and a Carter Burwell Soundtrack that adds even more power at just the right moments whilst not getting in the way of the story - and you're on a filmic winner.

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" is great cinema and frankly I wouldn't want to spoil anyone's viewing of it by giving away too much story-tell - because like "Darkest Hour" this movie is intensely moving and another must see before the statues start flowing in Spring. Well done to all involved...
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