A movie like Three Billbaords Outside Ebbing, Missouri happens once in a lifetime for not just the actors in it and the people behind the camera, but also the audience.This is cinema in its purest of forms and it reiterates the fact that cinema is a universal language and that the human condition is the same everywhere, irrespective of color,creed or race.A British-Irish filmmaker has made a film with a prominent American cast about a story set in the American midwest that resonates with a global audience, inspired by some real life billboards that he came across during his journeys in the American south.How’s that for a reality check in the age of fake news,post truths and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.DC doesn’t make the cut even in such passing references, sorry.
I’m not sure who my favorite character is, that’s to say actor, in this film.Frances McDormand of course owns every scene shes’s in and almost steals the show from her peers here.She plays a grieving mother to a murdered daughter and her anger knows no limits.She’s at war with the whole world to a point that you are tempted to stop rooting for the character despite her predicament midway, but then she wins you back again with a display of emotions that reminds you that you would feel no different if you were in her shoes.She is spiteful to the core in one scene and the most vulnerable in the next and when you read that the role was written with McDormand in mind, you are the least surprised, considering the results.
Woody Harrelson plays a character whose strength and vulnerability tears you apart and you are forced to empathize with him even in his weakest moments.Harrelson excels in this role and brings a warmth to the character who emotionally anchors the film not just for the viewers but for the other characters too, in this story about ordinary people driven to despair by situations they have absolutely no control over.
Giving Harrelson and McDormand a run for their money is Sam Rockwell who makes it impossible for you to hate the angry cop character that he plays,even in his meanest of turns.In a scene where the director and the cinematographer show off their skills with a long take, Rockwell lets his body do the acting.In another scene he’s seen performing with a totally bandaged face.He gets to face off with McDormand more than once and those scenes are the stuff of cinematic legends I’d say.
Martin McDonagh is angry and one cant but help feel that there’s a bit of him in the three leading characters of the film.His writing demanded the most talented of actors to deliver total justice to it on screen and he couldn’t have asked for a better line up than the current cast to do that for him.I can almost imagine the sheer joy he must’ve experienced watching his vision of the film come to life through these stellar performers.From Peter Dinklage to Abbie Cornish to Caleb Landry to John Hawkes to Lucas Hedges,everyone leaves their mark on the screen for whatever little time they’re on.The fact that billboards with a direct reference to the ones in this movie have been used in more than one protest across the globe since its release is testimony enough to the kind of impact this magnificent piece of cinema has had on its audience.The charachters and the story stays with you and haunts you long after you leave the hall.