The one film that had one of the worst marketing campaigns of 2017 was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Marketed as a light comedy about a mother (Frances McDormand) putting up billboards to shame the local sheriff (Woody Harrelson) into solving her daughter’s murder, the film is significantly darker than the light comedy the trailer wants to pretend it is.
Simple premise. A woman (McDormand) who’s daughter was brutally killed is upset that her murder remains unsolved. From here it’s a character study of three people as we delve into an exploration of how one murder can affect a number of lives.
The fact that the film has hit as well as it has isn’t a surprise; Martin McDonagh has three stellar films behind him with more of a European flair and Three Billboards is the first that’s both set in America and feels American in tone. Seven Psychopaths had a European art house set in America tone, and In Bruges was a European comedy properly. Three Billboards has the sort of feel of small town America from the eyes of someone who’s lived in small town America.
It’s also a fantastic film in part because McDonagh has written a character piece for genuinely terrific character actors. The beauty and joy of the film is in its casting; McDonagh has a penchant for taking greatly skilled actors in interesting roles and making them unforgettable.
Three Billboards was arguably the best film of 2017 and while it may not have won an Oscar for Best Picture recently it’ll most likely be the only film of that group that endures.
Fox Searchlight presents Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri . Written and Directed by Martin McDonagh. Starring Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Caleb Landry Jones, Peter Dinklage. Run Time: 115 minutes. Rated R. Released on: 2.27.2018
Tags: Abbie Cornish, Caleb Landry Jones, Frances McDormand, Lucas Hedges, Martin McDonagh, Peter Dinklage, Sam Rockwell, three billboards outside ebbing missouri, Woody Harrelson