If you are searching for a film a little bit different than the usual box office fare then look no further than Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Now I know a lot of people haven't heard of this film and the title isn't exactly one that just rolls of the tongue, but trust me when I say this film may completely surprise you. The premise sounds bleak, but keep in mind this film is a dark comedy drama....very dark. The story centers around Mildred Hayes (played by Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) a woman who is desperately trying to find the man who raped and murdered her teenage daughter. After months of hearing nothing from the local police, she gets the idea to call them out on it in three huge billboards just outside of town. Between her, no-nonsense attitude and her determination to see this stunt through she turn the town and the police department on its head.
I get that the overall material seems pretty heavy, but this film takes a seriously snarky approach to this film. Police Chief Willowby (Woody Harrelson) who is the center focus of the billboards has a very laid back approach to his policing style even when it comes to protecting his incredibly racist staff in this tiny Missouri town. His biggest offender is his second in command deputy Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell) who was recently accused of torturing a man of color while in police custody and who is known for having a very short fuse. Believe me when I tell you this town has some real winners in it. So after getting a little backstory on the stellar police chief and staff, it is easy to see why Mildred was driven to such extremes.
Despite the incredibly awful circumstances this film is based around, it is actually really entertaining. You will find yourself laughing a lot and I am sure you will also catch yourself thinking or even saying "What the F@$% am I watching?" , but as the story comes together it just makes sense. Martin McDonagh has really put together a wonderfully perfect dark comedy that shows humanities dark side and can make us laugh about it while realizing just how messed up it truly is. This film tackles racism, homophobia, murder, suicide, and anger issues with such fine tact you may not even realize that you are learning something. The cast brings top-notch acting to each of their respective roles and I wouldn't be surprised if some of their names make appearances this awards season.
This film easily scored an A+ from me. This may not be forever, but I think if you give it a shot you may be pleasantly surprised. It may have you walking away with your own thoughts on what you would have done in the same situation and honestly, I hope it does because hey, thinking is good for us all.
Don't miss Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in theaters everywhere November 17th.