In May 1940, the fate of Western Europe hangs on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on knowing that it could mean a humiliating defeat for Britain and its empire.
Kristin Scott Thomas
The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous hotel from the fictional Republic of Zubrowka between the first and second World Wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.
F. Murray Abraham,
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is a darkly comic drama from Academy Award nominee Martin McDonagh (In Bruges). After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson), the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell), an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated.Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
After Dixon tells Mildred that the DNA sample wasn't a match, she says that "she was glad to have had hope for a day" (or words to that effect). DNA comparison tests take several months to complete.
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[walking into his office]
You Red Welby?
Yes, ma'am. How may I help you?
I heard there's three billboards out on Drinkwater Road. You're in charge of renting them out, that right?
I didn't know we had any billboards out on Drinkwater. Where is Drinkwater Road?
It's a road out past the Sizemore turn-off. Nobody uses it since the freeway got put in.
You are right. Got three billboards out there. Nobody's put nothing up out there since 1986. That was 'Huggies'.
How much to rent out all...
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I wanted this movie to be great. It wasn't. The performance by Frances McDormand is good but not great. She's very good at showing overwhelming anger, but that's all she's allowed. Her character never gets the chance to breathe. Blame the script, not her--she's a terrific actor, but this is a one-note performance.
2. There is a sub-theme about race. Race is an important issue and deserves to be treated honestly, but in this movie, it felt like a side-road that led nowhere. (It actually feels like moral preening on the part of the scriptwriter. It didn't add much to the movie's meaning.
3. Wonderful performances by Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell as a police chief and officer. Woody especially brought grace to a character who at first seemed unsympathetic. (BTW, McDormand's ex-husband has a young and beautiful girlfriend, and that relationship is treated as awkward and shameful. Harrelson's wife is young and beautiful, and that relationship is treated as idyllic.)
4. Police officers don't talk like that among themselves or to others.
5. I particularly didn't like the Chief's take on racist cops, saying essentially that all cops are racist. That may be accepted as dogma by some Hollywood screenwriters, but any chief who talks about his beloved employees--or cops in general--like that shouldn't be a cop. Coming from this character, the sentiment is cheap and clunky and inexplicable.
6. There are a couple of plot holes wide enough to drive a billboard through sideways. The most egregious (no spoiler here) is what happens (actually what should have happened but didn't) immediately following the window scene. (You'll know the scene when you see it.) The thing not happening was necessary keep the plot going. Everything that happened after that feels tainted as artificial and contrived. Likewise a later scene in a bar, involving a coincidence beyond coincidence.
7. It's impossible McDormand's character wouldn't have been arrested several times in the course of the movie, for several serious crimes. Once again, he plot depends on that not happening, and thus the plot again is contrived.
8. There's a letter delivered to Rockwell's character late in the movie which is full of Hallmark Card sentimental drivel. It can't be justified by either what we know of that character or what we know of the writer.
In a world (as the movie trailers used to say) where we are awash in numbskull comic book movies and incoherent special effects spectacles, it was a small miracle this film even came to my local cinema. Too bad I couldn't love it.
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