‘Three Billboards’ broadcasts a story that will make the viewer ponder

Dark comedy creates internal conflict for audience


Fair use from Blueprint Pictures.

Lukas Levin

‘Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri’, directed by Martin McDonagh, demonstrates how dark comedies can be genuinely clever.

The movie follows Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) who, after months of the local police failing to locate the murderer of her daughter, begins to take matters into her own hands by purchasing three billboards.

This film shows some of the most phenomenal acting I have seen in a film in a while. Considering the cast consists mostly of A-list actors, this isn’t a surprise. Each actor manages to show levels of complexity that has not been seen in a modern film this year. Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson (Police Chief Willoughby), Sam Rockwell (Officer Dixon) and Peter Dinklage (James) all portrayed intricate personas that make the audience constantly debate between who to trust and who to feel sympathy for. Each character who helps craft this small town has their own morals and beliefs that can make viewers hate them at one moment and love them in another. However, Lucas Hedges, whose performance in ‘Manchester by the Sea’ was superb, fell flat on both an emotional and realistic level in this film.

‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ had subtle hints of social commentary. These moments weren’t spotlighted throughout the film, yet they still provided an interesting layer of societal reflection on society, especially since the director is not originally from the United States. Social conflicts and struggles someone may experience in a metropolitan city may not only see this paralleled and institutionalized in the film, but also in a tiny southern town.

Even though the movie takes place in Missouri, cinematographer Ben Davis chose to shoot in North Carolina, which provides an authentic rural town that encompasses nature and beauty in nearly every shot. Davis shoots scenes that create visual interest through depth, wide shots and masterful color correction.

Overall, there were few weak points in this film, only some pacing issues and some of the younger actors were not as outstanding compared with the rest of the cast. Although this may not be a problem in other films, it really stands out with such experienced actors and actresses. Ultimately, the downfalls of the film are far outweighed by its successes and would be a great movie to see with friends.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: 4/5