A Stunning Film That Sets The Benchmark For 2018
In a world of endless reboots, sequels and Disney monopolising, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is the perfect advertisement against a stagnating film industry. Raw, poignant and devastatingly real, Three Billboards is a stunning film and one that sets the benchmark for 2018. Boasting well written characters, a decent story and an artistic flair rife with symbology and a thematically strong narrative,
Set just under a year since her child was killed, the police are at a loss over leads. Frustrated Mildred (Frances McDormand) takes the law into her own hands and putts up three billboards on a stretch of road that point the finger at the ineptitude of the police department. Three Billboards is an interesting and oftentimes emotional exploration into grief, anger and justice. These themes run strongly throughout the film and each character has a clear progression through these emotions, oftentimes clashing, violently.
Whilst the plot is simple, it’s the complex, well written characters that really elevate this picture. Three Billboards is an emotional rollercoaster and the dynamic between the characters typify this. A strong performance from Frances McDormand is complemented by equally powerful performances from both police officers, Dixon (Sam Rockwell) and Wiloughby (Woody Harrelson). These three characters in particular evolve throughout the run time and explore these different emotions, changing as they do. This progression is clearly defined by the end of the film with the lead characters changed for the better (or worse). This acute awareness of each character’s emotion is partly the reason Three Billboards works as well as it does.
Along with the well written story, good pacing and complex characters is an interesting dose of symbology that crops up throughout the film. Fire plays a major part, not just in the plot, but also in shaping the emotional journey of the characters. There’s some clever foreshadowing early on too and bites of dialogue that seem inconsequential at the time end up playing a key role in the story. This intelligent awareness of the script and tying everything together helps set Three Billboards apart from the mass of films out there. Although the ending leaves question marks over what’s going to happen, its irrelevant in the context of the story told here.
Whilst it might be premature to call Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri the best film of 2018, what with it being January and everything, it’s certainly a strong contender for that crown. The blend of comedy and drama is perfectly synced and in an ever monopolised and stagnating film industry, is an important point to note. The simple story is told well and the complex, emotional characters drive the narrative forward. Along with interesting symbology and a thematically strong undertone, Three Billboards is a stunning achievement and one that deserves to be watched.
Verdict - 9.5/10