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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri                                 review by Bobby Blakey

Director Martin McDonagh has delivered some great films with one of my favorites being Seven Psycopaths. Now he is back with a different kind of film with Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Željko Ivanek, Caleb Landry Jones, Clarke Peters, Samara Weaving, John Hawkes and Peter Dinklage. Could this film offer up more of what has made McDonagh’s films great or will it be a sign not worth reading?

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri follows Mildred Hayes who makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby, the town's revered chief of police after months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon, an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated. The trailer for this movie had me sold from the first time I saw it, but I was not expecting the movie I actually got. The story here and situation is actually way darker in tone than I thought it was going to be despite brilliantly lacing the entire film with some dark humor. 

The entire cast are all great with McDormand leading the charge to perfection. She brings a powerful presence that is full of pain and rage that is needed to really make this character work. On the flip side is Harrelson in yet another brilliant performance bringing a completely different take on this character than I had expected. Rockwell is as good as ever offering up the most unlikable character in the entire film, but to be fair there isn’t too many people that are really all that good here. There was some unexpected directions throughout the film that made for a truly great powerful film that was so much more than I could have hoped for. 

The ending of the film will likely be one that might put some people off, but I loved the openness of it while offering up a definitive ending to the plot in an unexpected way. I was amazed how dark and powerful this film was yet how much I actually laughed throughout although sometimes a bit uncomfortably. Whether you have seen any of McDonagh’s films or not this is one that will connect on numerous levels to most. If you are looking for a simple but powerful and brilliantly acted film then give this one a try.  

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