Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Source: ComingSoon

Crackling with wit yet also ablaze with violence, racially charged rhetoric and complex, meaningful and haunting characters, Martin McDonagh’s screenplay is a beautiful beast. It elicits a crowning achievement in acting by Frances McDormand, as well as powerful and thought-provoking performances by Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. These actors’ three primary characters are of the most deep and inspired put to film. As the film develops with an excellent pace to suit the gossip, backlash and fury of the town’s people, the characters beautifully evolve, each with distinct flaws that make the audience question their actions and messages. Personally, it is with this the film most resonated, as it illustrated that reactions and interpretations are subjective, our means to getting what we want may be critically analysed, but for ourselves it may make perfect sense. The issue with this however, in crafting characters of immense moral ambiguity, is the film often forgets responsibility in a thematic sense. Memorably, to portray arcs of redemption or characters willing to repent behaviour, such a police brutality and racism, the film fails to truly condemn the initial behaviour and not simply use it as a device for character development. These actions are never forgotten, but the subtlety in which they are commented upon may leave some begging for greater analysis. Furthermore, the large ensemble of characters does dilute the protagonist’s effect, and introduce some unnecessary sub-plots. Ultimately, however, when the film narrows in on its central players, it presents a nuanced character study of such emotional stakes, complexity and incredible moral ambiguity that it will haunt many. 4.5/5



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