Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


D: Michael McDonagh

Fox Searchlight/Film4/Cutting Edge/Blueprint (Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin & Martin McDonagh)

US/UK 2017

115 mins


W: Martin McDonagh

DP: Ben Davis

Ed: Jon Gregory

Mus: Carter Burwell

Frances McDormand (Mildred Hayes), Woody Harrelson (William Willoughby), Sam Rockwell (Jason Dixon), Lucas Hedges (Robbie), Caleb Landry Jones (Red Welby), Abbie Cornish (Anne), John Hawkes (Charlie), Peter Dinklage (James)

Frances McDormand delivers one of her very best performances (and certainly her best since Fargo) in this jet black comedy from Martin McDonagh.

McDormand plays Mildred, a mourning mother, fuelled by guilt and grief, who makes use of three billboards outside her small Missouri town to shame the local police into finding her daughter's killer.

The local police chief, William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), is initially opposed to the erection of the billboards, which also spawn the wrath of racist deputy Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell) and it doesn't take long before the rest of the townsfolk turn against Mildred and her vigilante actions.

With dialogue which cuts like a knife and a cast of characters who fall between morally reprehensible and wholly sympathetic, McDonagh's film feels like a Chaucer inspired fable on the stages of grieving, managing to tackle every emotion and bring it to the screen. You may laugh, you may cry, you may even wince. 

There will be some who won't take a liking to its style and content, but for many this will easily amongst the best films they'll see from 2017.


Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri