Truth in Advertising - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
After the dark and brooding yet comedic In Burges (a favorite of Seth Meyers) and the more laugh heavy romp of Seven Psychopaths, Martin McDonagh has brought us back towards the darker spectrum. The story follows a lady who's daughter was raped and murdered but after months of investigation has seen her case go cold. In an effort to revive interest she posts some very provokative billboards questioning the reasons why she hasnt seen closure. That sets off a reaction within the community that lands her in some serious trouble.
What this film has going for it is the absolutely stellar performance from Frances McDormand. She is mad as hell and can't take it anymore. Her life is in shambles and she is just looking for some justice for her daughter by any means necessary. That quickly turns into a battle of wits between her and the chief who seem to have a mutual respect for one another in there brash handling of things. Wood Harrison was commendable as her foil and yet Sam Rockwell was somewhat lacking for me as a fellow policeman. I really wasn't a fan of his racist, dumb guy who lives with his mom character. He is usually silly and smart and charming, but in this he just comes off oafish. He is such a large part of the film that it took away from the rest of the more interesting characters.
The humour is about as dark as you've come to expect from McDonagh, and there are plenty of laughs to be had in this film. Seething verbal jabs abound as characters square off with one another. However drama didn't quite live up to the premise. The emotional weight from the mother's loss wasn't as felt as I wanted to feel it. There were moments that landed well enough but as I've said in other reviews lacked that gut punch you want that puts a lump in your throat and that had to do with the tone being too comedic for it's own good. Dramedys have a fine line to balance on in order to succeed and this time around I didn't get the balance I was looking for. I still enjoyed the sort of cat and mouse game of it all I just wish I was able to connect more with the characters so that the events stuck with me more heavily.
This was a solid entry for McDonagh, I enjoyed seeing the cast interact with each other and how everything wound up was not where i expected it to go. McDormand was fantastic and a far cry from the likes of her Fargo or Burn After Reading characters. It has a good sense of humor but it tends to drown out the more serious moments leaving it as unbalanced as some of it's characters.
Dark, funny but unbalanced