FILM

The Jewish Chronicle - - REVIEWS - LINDA MARRIC Three Bill­boards Out­side Eb­bing Mis­souri artin McDon­agh’s had wellde­served suc­cess at the Golden Globes over the

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MThree Bill­boards Out­side Eb­bing, Mis­souri week­end.

The film is a re­turn to form for the crit­i­cally ac­claimed di­rec­tor and writer whose most re­cent of­fer­ing Seven Psy­chopaths sadly failed to live up to his bril­liantly an­ar­chic de­but fea­ture In Bruges.

Star­ring Frances McDor­mand as a woman hell-bent on seek­ing the truth about her daugh­ter’s bru­tal rape and mur­der, Three Bill­boards is the kind of ex­ple­tive-laden black com­edy which strikes just the right bal­ance be­tween gut-wrench­ing de­spair and hi­lar­i­ous comic tim­ing.

Af­ter wait­ing for months for her daugh­ter’s killer to be caught and brought to jus­tice, Mil­dred Hayes (McDor­mand) names and shames those whom she be­lieves have failed her and her fam­ily. Plac­ing three bill­boards on the side of the road lead­ing into her small town of Eb­bing, Mil­dred has a mes­sage for chief of po­lice Wil­liam Wil­loughby (por­trayed with play­ful­ness and re­serve by Woody Har­rel­son) de­mand­ing to know why the cul­prit is still at large. Things are ex­ac­er­bated when Wil­loughby’s id­i­otic deputy, Of­fi­cer Dixon (Sam Rock­well) a barely lit­er­ate, racist, mummy’s boy, goes to war with Mil­dred over the treat­ment of his boss.

McDor­mand ex­cels in a role clearly de­vel­oped with her in mind. Mil­dred is a sweary, brawl­ing ma­tri­arch con­sumed by rage and anger, a hur­ri­cane of a woman who will de­stroy any­thing that comes be­tween her and her quest for the truth. And Rock­well is truly magnificent as Of­fi­cer Dixon, whom he ex­pertly por­trays as a small-minded half-wit who slowly re­alises that he has bit­ten off way more than he can chew in con­fronting Mil­dred.

While ini­tially lack­ing in nu­ance, McDon­agh’s char­ac­ters are even­tu­ally able to grow as we progress through the story. His abil­ity to paint these small-town folk as highly strung and com­pli­cated in their own ways, is what makes him one of to­day’s best writ­ers of drama. While not al­ways hit­ting the right note when chal­leng­ing some of his char­ac­ters’ less than or­tho­dox views, he is still able to of­fer a morally charged nar­ra­tive, which more than makes up for this over­sight.

Three Bill­boards Out­side Eb­bing, Mis­souri not only man­ages to sur­pass all ex­pec­ta­tions of its an­ar­chic tone, but also of­fers one of the most ex­hil­a­rat­ing story-lines of the year. The film is more than de­serv­ing of the ac­co­lades be­ing heaped on its cast and di­rec­tor.

PHOTO: PA

Frances McDor­mand as Mil­dred Hayes

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