“The intricate, and often hostile, interaction between the strong-willed personas of Harrelson, McDormand, and Rockwell makes for sensational filmmaking and movie watching… The early Oscar front-runner for Best Picture!”
– Patrick King, REEL BRIEF
A trifecta of superb acting performances will surely earn “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” a well-deserved spot on nearly everyone’s shortlist for Best Picture in 2017. This crime drama, depicting a grieving mother seeking answers for her daughter’s brutal murder, moves at a brisk pace while character development intensifies throughout the cast.
Headlining this remarkable group of actors and actresses is Frances McDormand, who portrays Mildred Hayes…the upset and angry mother of a teenager killed just outside the small town of Ebbing, Missouri. One of only 14 women to ever achieve the “Triple Crown of Acting” (earning an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award), McDormand forcefully shakes up local law enforcement officers and moviegoers in her steadfast quest to find the person(s) responsible for Hayes’ unimaginable heartache.
Recipients of McDormand’s razor-sharp tongue and activism are Woody Harrelson (as Ebbing police chief William Willoughby) and his stormy second-in-command (Officer Jason Dixon), played impeccably by Sam Rockwell. Both must reopen the homicide investigation of Mildred Hayes’ daughter after three billboards are painted which openly calls out the police chief for his inaction in finding clues to the killer of the young girl.
A brilliant screenplay slowly unmasks the film’s key players, shining a spotlight on how each character’s past and present are interwoven into this chilling storyline. Although McDormand is the central figure and antagonist for finding the truth, it’s Woody Harrelson as the police chief that pulls this movie plot together. Harrelson’s rapport with his family, Mildred Hayes, and his own police officer (Rockwell) all combine to profoundly grab viewers’ full attention using crude language, revenge, and violence. A simplistic, but hugely effective, soundtrack captures the film’s many boiling points and overall potency.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” boils down to complicated relationships which are perfectly marinated and presented by British director Martin McDonagh. The intricate, and often hostile, interaction between the strong-willed personas of Harrelson, McDormand, and Rockwell makes for sensational filmmaking and movie watching.
Simply put, McDormand and Rockwell deserve Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor nominations during next month’s Academy Award announcements. Both deliver career high points in this thought-provoking and heartfelt drama. Likewise, don’t be surprised to see “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” land Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay nominations at the same time. The film took the top prize at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and I don’t see it losing momentum as it expands to an additional 1,000 theaters later this month.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is rated R for language, sexual thematic elements, and violence. Its running time is 1 hour and 55 minutes.
© 2017, Patrick. All rights reserved.
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