Mildred (Frances McDormand) is fed up, her daughters murder has gone unsolved and she takes a somewhat unusual step to get the attention of the local Police Chief (Woody Harrelson). She rents out three billboards on a practically deserted road with slogans that certainly will get the Police Department riled up.
This starts a chain of events that divides the small town with everybody from the local priest to the friends of her long-suffering son (Lucas Hedges) wading in with their opinions of how they felt about Mildred’s advertising purchase.
The problem also for Mildred is that the Chief is well liked around town and she is the type that you wouldn’t want at your dinner party, even the local dentist has it in for her, actually whilst he’s giving her a check up.
This isn’t Mildred’s only dilemma, her ex-husband (John Hawkes) has shacked up with a 20 something, who Mildred lovingly refers to as ‘the girl who smells like shit’, primarily because she works at the Zoo.
She also has to deal with Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a racist still living with Mum Police Officer who is as clueless as he is protective of the well-liked Chief; this creates utter chaos for Mildred and the advertising boss ‘Red’ (Caleb Landry Jones) who rented the billboards out.
Even though most of the town is on the Chief’s side Mildred still has the cute advances of the local used car salesman who plays pool with ‘Red’, a man they call ‘the midget’, it’s Game of Thrones Peter Dinklage, this isn’t exactly a movie for the politically correct.
Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is a dark comedy, and I use the word comedy loosely, there are funny scenes within a serious story, but that laughter is also bludgeoned by an act of violence the very next scene that leaves you wincing, its an awkward transition.
Frances McDormand is great as usual, she plays Mildred tough and right to the edge, you feel her pain and admire her determination, her methods may be questionable but she wants justice at practically any cost. Another standout is Sam Rockwell as ‘Dixon’, you may hate his character but you have to applaud the actor, Oscar should come knocking.
If Director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) had smoothed over the shocking violence this could have been a great movie, it’s definitely worth a look but be prepared.
Hallymustang rating : ??? 3/5