LFF 2017 Closing Night Gala - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Dir: Martin McDonagh
Starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas Hedges, Peter Dinklage, Abbie Cornish, John Hawkes, Caleb Landry Jones, Zeljko Ivanek
In terms of this year’s London Film Festival – they clearly saved the best for last. Martin McDonagh’s new movie is as blackly comic as you can get, is part neo-western, and all over a brilliantly humane look at loss, tragedy and the intricacies and effects of small town revenge. It is anchored by a simply magnificent performance from McDormand (get that mantle ready, missus) as a mother who hires three billboards to berate the local police department (headed by Harrelson) for their inability to solve the brutal rape and murder of her daughter. As she slowly walks into this one street town in her jumpsuit, Harrelson and his department know – this means war.
McDonagh’s film brilliantly moves from laugh out loud comedy, then turns on a dime both into brutal honesty and total tragedy. The sense of loss in these people is palpable – and shifts from one character to another as the film unfolds. And this is a film in which character is all – every single role here, down to the smallest and briefest of parts, is perfectly cast and played to perfection. Harrelson continues what is proving to be the streak of his life (just IMDB his last two years in case you missed it) and Rockwell is on genius level form, first as an almost bumbling racist fool of a cop, who suddenly turns extremely nasty and then, well…go see for yourselves.
Shifting from heart wrenching to life affirming to just downright damn funny, McDonagh handles all the gear changes with a casual ease that belies the mastery of what the man is doing here, in what is clearly one of the best movies of the year. Awards will follow, and we’re putting our money on McDormand landing her second Best Actress Oscar right here and now.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri opens November 10
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