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Three Billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Mildred (Frances McDormand) is grieving the loss of her daughter who was murdered several months back. She feels that the police are not spending enough time trying to solve the case. To get the attention of the police chief Sheriff Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), she rents three billboards just outside of town with a provocative message for Willoughby. Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell) happens to drive down the little-traveled road one day and sees the signs, and the “war” is on.  My favorite of the year so far, this film has so much going for it. First, the acting is superb by everyone, notably McDormand as an angry, grieving mother, and Rockwell as the barely competent, racist, and hostile officer. The woman who plays Officer Dixon’s mother has a small part that is nonetheless expertly acted. The screenplay is one of the sharpest I have ever seen. The music was great, and the movie was simultaneously hilarious and brutal at the same time. The characters are so well developed, entertaining, and quirky. Huge thumbs for this black comedy by Martin McDonagh who also directed In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. While his unique style in this film is similar to his previous two, I think he has perfected his art form with a splendid mix of vibrant characters, terrific performances, and witty dialog. If there are not Oscar nominations for McDormand, Rockwell, and the screenplay, I would be really surprised.

About Gary Burkholder

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