What better way to start off the year than with a brilliant film from writer-director Martin McDonagh. In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Frances McDormand plays Mildred, a harsh mother whose daughter was murdered, with no arrests were made for 7 months. Using three hired billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, she asks town sheriff Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) why no justice has been done.What then follows throughout the film is based on mixed feelings every character has all that surrounds the billboards.
McDormand is brilliant in this role as one of the most complex and strong characters written in the film. She is tough and brutal, as she wants to see something done about her daughter’s murder. Furthermore, she does feel a massive sense of guilt as she looks back to the last moment she had with her daughter before she died. When she’s not foul-mouthed and harsh towards the citizens of the town, she shows empathy, especially towards a deer that passes by the billboards.
Most of the cast give fantastic performances with the complex characters given throughout the film, including Harrelson as Chief Willoughby. He’s sympathetic towards Mildred and he does have legitimate reasons for not getting anywhere with the case. Other characters, like Sam Rockwell as Officer Dixon, do develop and evolve along the way. Also, everything that happens in the story creates an incredibly unpredictable and interesting journey. Despite one or two moments where the story does slow down a little, it does have a good balance of dark comedy and drama throughout.
Some may argue about the ending being unsatisfying (no spoilers), but I actually disagree. I liked the idea of this film ending on a sweet but also depressing note while also being open to interpretation. Furthermore, it fits with displaying the film’s themes of anger within individuals, as well as change. I would definitely consider it as one of the best films of 2018.