In keeping with writer and director Martin McDonagh’s taste for fastidiously literal film titles (Seven Psychopaths, In Bruges), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is about exactly that. The opening sequence lingers longingly on the three decrepit billboards; soon they will be rented by Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) in order to draw attention to the floundering police investigation into the murder of her daughter Angela. Her decision is the breakneck, blackly comic plot’s starter pistol, igniting a reaction in her fellow townspeople that ranges from mild disapproval to incandescent fury.
Three Billboards is staggeringly entertaining – its script performs a series of hairpin turns with a mastery that leaves you agog. McDonagh has long coaxed comedy from the friction between the idiotic, the unthinkably painful and the banal. But in this scorching,