THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (2017)
|Critic - No.148|
Casts: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell
Genre: Crime / Drama
Seven months after her daughter, Angela, was abducted and killed, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), strong willed mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit.
The film starts off with a gush of emotion and sets the stage very early and just when we thought that this is going to be another social commentary thriller, McDonagh drifts off to a darker, violent territory, exploring the dynamics of each characters that are involved in the circle. More than finding the justice, the film juices out the deep human emotions and studies how uncontrolled rage can have a serious chain effect.
The film’s ability to address each sub plots with so much of tenderness and foreshadowing is a sheer masterstroke. Even the most unsympathetic characters have so much of complexity. By exploring various familial relationships, Mcdonagh brings the real skin of each characters and their reasons for each actions and expressions. It's a very rare occasion where we simply drawn into the reliability or rather reality that cinema offers and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a spectacular accomplishment in that way.
Traveling with a dark comedy treatment, McDonagh engages us with a surfacing mystery of the murder that affects so many people. Through insertion of a few flash backs and symbolically engineered sequences (such as the fire scene pushing the idea of burning hatred), he uses many modes of storytelling without going too offbeat. Carter Burwell’s spirited spaghetti-western score accentuates the film’s dual themed presentation.
Frances McDormand excels greatly as mother who taunts the police for her justice despite all the obstacles and physical trauma she goes through. She evokes various types of emotions in us and our likability to her character takes a roller coaster ride until the very end. Particularly, I liked this brilliant scene of her dating James (Peter Dinklage), a love-struck car salesman, where he lists down what are her flaws. That scene rips off her stubbornness, inner demons and shows her that hate will never bring you anywhere. That self-realization was expressed masterfully by McDromand.
Sam Rockwell as Dixon initially appears as a caricature with a negative shade but soon transforms to a compassionate figure that strives for a genuine redemption after falling prey for his own outburst of violence and rage. Similarly Woody Harrelson who is introduced as the direct antagonist at the start becomes the most important catalyst for the entire film’s theme. When the film unfolds the intricacy of his actions, act by act, it stamps the film’s main motivation strongly and memorably. The performances of the cast ensemble is so earnest that we neglect any lags the film runs into in the middle.
VERDICT: Revolving around the themes of hate, anger and redemption, Martin Mcdonagh crafts a breathtakingly beautiful, raw social drama that is supercharged by a career defining performance by Frances McDormand.
CELLULOID METER- 4.5/5: