Woody Harrelson Chief Willoughby
Frances McDormand Mildred
Sam Rockwell Dixon
After taking a much needed holiday in Hawaii, I have returned to provide another “timely” review of an older movie. I did intend to write some reviews on movies that I watched on the plane to/from Hawaii, but alas, I don’t think I managed to make it through any of them without getting interrupted by turbulence, meals, sleep or another requirement for a scotch refill. So here we are again to discuss our thoughts on what we watched on the weekend.
This weekend’s movie was Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. I always have a great deal of reserve when a movie title reads like a story to start out with…..I usually find that in those scenarios the title is trying to make up for what is lost in the actual script, plot or acting. Even though this film did win several Oscar’s (which doesn’t always mean that I will like it) it also starred Frances McDormand. While regularly touted as a great actress, I don’t usually enjoy her movies. However, with the addition of Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, both incredible actors, I decided to take a chance.
In short, the film is about a woman (McDormand/Mildred) who is trying to get some attention by the police and media to the rape and subsequent murder of her daughter. This horrible crime was a year old, and the police department still had not found any suspects or motive to the crime. So, Mildred as the grieving mother decided to take matters in her own hands by advertising the police force’s ineptness on a series of billboards outside of town. Naturally, this brings the attention of the media, townsfolk and the local Sherriff’s office.
What did we like about this film? Basically, everything. The script was solid, the characters’ development was fluid and logical and the acting was phenomenal. As I mentioned earlier, while not really of fan of McDormand’s films, in this case I was proven wrong. She skillfully portrayed a mother who really had “nothing to lose” to ensure that the Sherriff would give this crime the attention it deserved. In this role, McDormand demonstrated grit, intestinal fortitude, remorse, anger and revenge when required. Also her dark humour, skilful delivery of one-liners and punchlines shone through.
Harrelson and Rockwell were the highlights. Always a fan of both actors, I enjoyed their performance immensely. Harrelson as the police chief, demonstrated the challenges of law enforcement in a small town with limited resources, while additionally fighting pancreatic cancer. In both cases, he was really in a no win situation and he knew it. His character was bang on, and counter-balanced the anger and frustration of McDormand and in the incompetence of Rockwell as one of his deputies. In essence, he was the hub and they were the spokes. Without giving away too many plotlines or twists, how Harrelson’s character (Willoughby) finally dealt with both his sickness and the crime proved to be beneficial to all. He gave McDormand/Mildred some anonymous assistance and Rockwell the encouragement/confidence that he required.
Now for Rockwell/Dixon, he was brilliant, and I can truly understand why he was rewarded with an Oscar. His portrayal of an inept, bigoted, Mama’s boy with delusions of grandeur was incredible. He swaggered, bullied, lied and cheated throughout the movie and did it in such a fashion that “you” (the audience) could not really find anything at all to like about him. When an actor can get a visceral reaction from the audience, it is definitely a skill to be commended. Of course, this contempt for his character continues till he achieves his epiphany at the hands of Harrelson/Willoughby and he literally turns the page to become a better person with a genuine desire to do what is “right” (though maybe not necessarily within the realms of the law). Overall, a superlative performance by Rockwell.
Additionally, 3 Billboards provided some surprises with the supporting actors (Peter Dinklage, Abbie Cornish and Zeljko Ivanek). Each of them did a great job supporting the main cast and assisting the story development. Mind you, we have been big fans of Dinklage since his “Game of Thrones” days and as always he did not disappoint. For Ivanek, for once he played a character (the Desk Sgt) who was not slimy and scheming, with a hidden agenda. I actually enjoyed seeing him play this role and would like to seem him grow and move out of the stereotype character that he normally plays. Cornish as Willoughby’s wife also played a pivotal role in supporting Harrelson, but also being the conveyance of Harrelson’s trigger to both McDormand and Rockwell. In all, the 3 supporting actors are to be commended for their roles and portrayals of their characters.
Were we entertained? Yes, we definitely were! Would we recommend this movie? Again, a resounding yes. If you have not seen this movie before, and are looking for some great entertainment, fantastic performances, great direction and script? Then Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is for you. You will not be disappointed!
Our rating: 8.5/10
Till next time!
Spencer Dwayne Johnson/Alex Wolff
Fridge Kevin Hart/Ser”Darius Blain
Bethany Jack Black/Madison Iseman
Martha Karen Gillan/Morgan Turner
Nigel Rhys Darby
Van Pelt Bobby Cannavale
Alex Nick Jonas
Well, my little brother aka “The Chairman” has been after me for years to contribute to his website (NotinHalloffame.com). As I am not really a sports aficionado, I always felt that I did not have a view or opinion to place in this forum. However, after many, and I mean many years of persistence and continued demonstrations that this is not only for those fans of various sports and music, but also a home for many disparate reviews, commentaries and discussions, I have relented and decided to provide a contribution.