Supermodel Eva Herzigova’s breasts are responsible for many car crashes. At least they were back in 1994 when her Wonderbra adverts were plastered across roadside billboards distracting drivers who found themselves having to reverse their cars out of roadside residents living rooms. So the impact of 3 Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri asking, ‘Raped while Dying’ ‘And still no arrests?’ ‘How come Chief Willoughby?’ are likely to have a similar effect.
Mildred (Frances McDormand) is a foul mouthed single mother with two children. It would have been three but her daughter is the one who was raped and murdered and the culprit never found. With the case closed and seemingly forgotten by the local police department she determines to embarrass the sheriff Willoghby (Woody Harrelson) into reopening the case to find her daughter’s murderer.
In the process she opens up a whole can of worms with half the town behind her and the other half supporting the genial Willoughby. The fact that the local sheriiff’s department, with its handful of less than adept or even interested officers, only hinders Mildred’s mission none more so than Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a violent, barely concealed racist mummy’s boy forever screwing up and inevitably the two butt heads throughout
Writer Director Martin McDonagh’s script is brilliantly profane and has everything from the most heartbreaking of tragedy to the most hilarious quips which are not without a liberal sprinkling of C-bombs – this isn’t a film to watch with your grandma. That it is part funded by Film Four is a surprise because quite how this will get on TV without edits is a mystery. In many ways its similar in tone to Tarantino’s scripts without the flashy jumping around the timeline with laugh out lines matched with some occasional gruesome moments especially one set in a dentists surgery which gives the Laurence Olivier / Dustin Hoffman scene in ‘Marathon Man’ a run for its money.
Much has already been made about Frances McDormand star turn in the lead role and she is undoubtedly good but what has been overshadowed is Sam Rockwell. Here he’s been written a gift of a role veering between hot headed violence to simpering coward and from ignorant bigot to enlightened new man – in short he is just brilliant in the role and he surely must be nominated for a gong come awards time.
This is a great film to start the year off though the ending is unlikely to please everyone this sets the bar high for films to follow this year.
Here’s the trailer…….