Frances McDormand is a force to be reckoned with in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Frances McDormand is a force to be reckoned with in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Supplied

MOVIE REVIEW: Three Billboards a quirky ride

IT'S been quite a while since we've had a quirky black comedy on our cinema screens.   

In a year packed with one action blockbuster after another, Oscar season kicks off with a bang come New Year's Day when Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri hits cinema screens.   

Three Billboards is a comedic drama from Academy Award-winning director Martin McDonagh. After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case Mildred Hayes (Fargo's Oscar winner Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, commissioning three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at her town's revered chief of police William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson).   

Frances McDormand in a scene from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Frances McDormand in a scene from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Merrick Morton

When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated as people in the town choose whose side they are on.   

Written and directed by McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) it also stars Australia's Abbie Cornish, and some scene-stealing from the world's favourite Game of Thrones actor, Peter Dinklage.  

What begins as a small action by a woman who wants answers to her daughter's murder ends up an event which has a range of effects on so many people in her town. From the police chief to the cops on the front line, to their families and workmates, Mildred starts to question her actions while fighting for a daughter who suffered a horrible murder.   

Frances McDormand is outstanding, and owns the role from start to finish. Her performance is one of a woman on the edge who has nothing to lose, and it is like the role was written just for her.   

Woody Harrelson is in fine form too.   

Woody Harrelson and Frances McDormand in a scene from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Woody Harrelson and Frances McDormand in a scene from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Supplied

The dialogue in this movie is what makes it stand out from the rest of the pack. One minute you'll be laughing, the next your heart will be breaking as these characters reveal more of themselves with each scene.   

The laughs come thick and fast early in the film, but over time things get more serious. This is a black comedy, which is hard to pull off, so don't go in to the cinema expecting a joke a minute. These are characters who are doing their best to deal with their personal demons, and laughs are used to relieve to the tension.   

The best way to describe Three Billboards is to imagine if Fargo had a baby with Quentin Tarantino.  

While the ending will leave audiences divided, this is one film that will have you talking and thinking about it for several days afterwards.   

Enjoyable, funny, sad, charming and at times moving, Three Billboards is a look at ordinary people dealing with life as best they can.  

Don't be surprised if it picks up a few acting and writing nods come awards season.  

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri opens in cinemas on Monday.    

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Stars: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell  

Director: Martin McDonagh  

Rating: MA 15+  

Verdict: 4 stars  



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