Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Review) – Good, Not Great

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Andrew Turner

Andrew Turner

Freelance Writer. History Graduate from the University of Southampton. Reviews Films, TV and Video Games and you can also find the reviews I publish here on my personal blog theturnertalks.com.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a black comedy crime film written and directed by Martin McDonagh. The film starts Abbie Cornish, Peter Dinklage, Lucas Hedges, John Hawkes, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Frances McDormand. The story of Three Billboards focuses on Mildred (Frances McDormand), a mother whose daughter was brutally murdered. The police have not been able to find a suspect so Mildred takes matters into her own hands. She rents three billboards to call attention to the unsolved crime which has an impact on the local community.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This is a film I was really looking forward to, particularly when you consider the amount of award recognition it is receiving. In fact, many see Three Billboards as a frontrunner to win Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars. The director was a big reason why I was excited to see the film. Indeed, Martin McDonagh directed In Bruges which is a great film that not many people have seen. If Three Billboards was on the same level of quality as that film, then I would be delighted.

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The casting for Three Billboards was fantastic too. We all know Peter Dinklage from his outstanding work in Game of Thrones and I was excited to see what he could do in the film. Sam Rockwell is a great character actor and has worked with McDonagh before in Seven Psychopaths which was a positive. Woody Harrelson has proven time and time again how talented he is as an actor. The same can be said for Frances McDormand. Her work in films such as Almost Famous, Mississippi Burning and Moonrise Kingdom proves how gifted she is. I was looking forward to seeing her performance in Three Billboards.

Woody Harrelson as Willoughby and Frances McDormand as Mildred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This was particularly the case when you consider that she is a favourite to win Best Actress at the Oscars. Indeed, both McDormand and Rockwell are in contention to win in their respective acting categories. I hoped that these performances which have received such high praise would elevate what looked like a compelling story. Certainly, the subject matter provided a lot of opportunity for the film to have depth. I wanted Three Billboards to be great and consider it to be worthy of the critical acclaim and award recognition it has received.

My Thoughts on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

While Three Billboards was not the film I wanted it to be in terms of quality, I did like it. Similar to Call Me By Your Name, it is a good film with great performances that did not make me feel like it deserved a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. Still, I will start with the positives.

Firstly, the performances in Three Billboards. Most of the cast are fantastic in the film. As I previously stated, the film as a whole does not feel worthy to have been nominated for Best Picture. Nonetheless, the performances given by Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell deserve the award recognition they have received so far.

Sam Rockwell as Dixon and Frances McDormand as Mildred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

They were exceptional in Three Billboards. I am more than pleased that Oscar nominations were given to them. Yet, I am not sure whether they deserve to win in their respective categories. This is simply because I still need to see more films and performances that are Oscar contenders. I have not seen enough of them yet to give you a solid opinion about who should win. However, I am confident enough to say that both McDormand and Rockwell warranted Oscar nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively.

Peter Dinklage, Woody Harrelson and Lucas Hedges were all good too but they were overshadowed by McDormand and Rockwell who are the stars of Three Billboards. The only negative with the cast was Abbie Cornish. She was completely miscast. It felt like she was in a completely different film which was a shame. Still, this is quite a minor negative in the grand scheme of things.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Is Engaging But Depressing

Three Billboards was, for the most part, engaging throughout. Despite its slow pacing, the excellent dialogue helps the film move at a good pace and keeps you entertained. Indeed, certain conversations in Three Billboards did make me chuckle, particularly when Mildred was involved. One flashback scene in a kitchen also comes to mind in regards to the comedic moments. These were the moments of levity in what was a very depressing film. I cannot deny that I was caught off guard at just how sad and dark Three Billboards was.

Frances McDormand as Mildred and Peter Dinklage as James in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Even the comedic moments are dark in nature. The depressing nature of the film does harm the chances of me re-watching Three Billboards again. For me, rewatchability is a big factor in the greatness of a film. True, certain films do exist which are very dark but have a lot of rewatchability. The masterpiece that is Schindler’s List comes to mind in that regard. However, Three Billboards is not one of these films.

The film never reached a high enough level of quality to make it qualify as a depressing film with tough subject matter that I will watch multiple times. Moreover, the ending of Three Billboards did not sit well with me. The film ended with a lack of resolution that left me unfulfilled with my viewing experience. I sat through the credits disappointed which was a real shame. I understood the meaning of the ending but I would have preferred it to be somewhat less ambiguous than it was.

My Final Thoughts on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

In the end, Three Billboards is a good film that I never have to see again. You can get a lot of enjoyment out of the great performances in the film as well as the excellent script which contains some brilliant dialogue. Still, Three Billboards is not on the same level of quality as In Bruges and it is not worthy of a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars.

Frances McDormand as Mildred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The performances are worthy, but the film as a whole is not in my opinion. Still, I think that you should go see Three Billboards. Every film impacts different people in different ways. Three Billboards is good enough for you to give it a chance. Moreover, I have seen the film be adored by enough people that you could end up loving it. However, it is not good enough for me to say with confidence that you will likely love it. I really hope that you do though.

Thank you for reading this review! You can find my other articles here on Soapbox as well as my reviews which you can also find at my blog theturnertalks.com.

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Andrew Turner

Andrew Turner

Freelance Writer. History Graduate from the University of Southampton. Reviews Films, TV and Video Games and you can also find the reviews I publish here on my personal blog theturnertalks.com.

Three Billboards Outside …

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