Three Billboards

It’s a bastard, a total bastard is pancreatic cancer. It took my best mate last year – and it afflicted one of the leading characters in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’.

By February of ’17 I thought I had already pegged the best film for the last year in ‘Manchester by the Sea’. I had, as it turned out. Now, in this mint new one, I think the case may be the same even earlier. ‘Three Billboards…’ is superb – there’s no other word to describe it. It’s hard to imagine I’ll see a better movie in 2018.

Its central core of characters, in Mildred (Frances McDormand), Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and Deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwell), are all portrayed by wonderful performances by these quality actors. One would have thought that ‘Fargo’ would always remain as the actress’ signature role, but Ms McDormand raises the bar even higher here. Harrelson is her perfect foil and as for Sam Rockwell, well, he just steals the show as the southern redneck, of the worst kind, who, despite his dumb crassness and propensity for violence, wins our sympathy in any case.

Mildred has, in shades of that aforementioned movie, ‘Manchester by the Sea’, suffered the loss of a child in a horrendous fashion. With all her cussing and front, its glaringly obvious that, outwardly, she cannot forgive the local constabulary for failing to nab the person who perpetrated the obscene act on her daughter. As a protest, she rents three billboards on the outskirts of town to bring to the attention of one and all the inaction of Willoughby with the case. In reality, we soon discover, it’s herself she cannot forgive.

Be aware that both the f-bomb and the c-word feature prominently, quite fitting, I feel, given the black as black subject matter. There is also much humour involved – but it is also as dark as dark can be.

Peter Dinklage has a role as a love interest of sorts, with our own Abbie Cornish featuring as the Chief’s much younger wife. All the minor characters, as a matter of fact, are perfect adjuncts to the main guys. Set in a rusted on poverty stricken locale in contemporary US of A, as with the similarly rambunctious ‘Hell or High Water’, we get another inkling as to why Americans elected a buffoon to the White House.

The movie has already won a swag of Golden Globes, perhaps accounting for the fullness of the audience I viewed it with at the State. By rights it should also cash in at the Oscars. We’ll see.

Movie trailer = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jit3YhGx5pU

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