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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Since there have been no arrests and no progress in the investigation of her daughter's rape and murder, her angry mother (Frances McDormand) pays for three billboards calling out the police for their inactivity. The small town does not react favorably to her actions, especially the cops. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (IN BRUGES), there's a reason to see this movie and that is Frances McDormand who gives a fierce performance. Easily her best performance since FARGO and quite possibly even better. Which makes it a pity that the film isn't really worthy of her. When the film is good, it's very good but it shoots itself in the foot with the ludicrous character of the racist redneck cop played by Sam Rockwell. Not Rockwell's fault at all, he's excellent. But are racist rednecks cops ever really funny? Only in the movies I suppose but this is a guy who beats up and tortures black people, bashes a man in the head and throws him out a second story window because he doesn't agree with him and we're supposed to be amused? Well, I suppose if you're a fellow racist. And when the movie tries to redeem him, all is forgiven? Gimme a break! But McDormand's searing performance overrides the ludicrousness of the film. If McDonagh had laid off the laughs and gone straight for the jugular, this might have been a great film. With Woody Harrelson, John Hawkes, Lucas Hedges, Peter Dinklage, Zeljko Ivanek and Abbie Cornish.

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