|Frances McDormand as Mildred|
One of the films of the moment is the oddly titled "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" written and directed by Martin McDonagh. Shirley and I went to see it on Tuesday afternoon.
Starring Frances McDormand as Mildred, the film is set in small town America where everybody knows everyone else. Long before the film opens, Mildred's teenage daughter Angela was raped and murdered. Mildred is filled with both grief and anger for she feels that the local police department have neglected their duties, failing to pursue the killer with due diligence.
She rents three disused billboards on the outskirts of town and uses them to embarrass the police into action.
It is a quirky film that has been described as a "dark comedy". McDonagh also directed "In Bruges" and seems to have a gift for embroidering seemingly tragic plots with strands of humour.
There's a clownish police officer called Dixon - played brilliantly by Sam Rockwell - in "Three Billboards". He lives with his mother. Near the end of the film he prepares to head out of the house while she is snoozing on the sofa. Bizarrely, there's also a tortoise on the sofa and he crawls into the old lady's lap. There is no other reference to this tortoise. It's just an unremarked and quirky moment that stayed with me after we left the cinema.
Pictorially, it is an eye-catching film. By the end you feel that you know Ebbing and its environs quite intimately. By the way, Ebbing is actually a fictional town. The real location was Sylva in the Plott Balsam Mountains of north western North Carolina.
There was another assured performance by Woody Harrelson as Police Chief Willoughby and Lucas Hedges - who I first saw in the excellent "Manchester By the Sea" played the part of Robbie - Mildred's son - in an appropriately restrained manner.
It's a good film and well worth seeing in my view but be warned - if you are of a delicate disposition - that Mildred is quite foul-mouthed and in her "cussing" shows little restraint.
|Woody Harrelson as Chief Willoughby|