By: Yinka Adeboyejo
The film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri has a wonder cast with a lot of different roles under their belts. The main character is a woman named Mildred who, after her daughter was raped and murdered, put up three billboards asking the chief of police, played by Woody Harrelson, why it has been several months and the murder hasn’t been solved; Mildred is played by Frances McDormand.
Ebbing, Mo. is a very small, rural town and everyone finds out about the billboards by the end of the first day. Everyone in the town takes either the side of the police or Mildred. A good number of towns’ people feel that the billboards are inappropriate even though the town has no problem with inappropriate comments going against the grain, which has people uneasy. The characters in the film say things like that one relative we all have, you know the one without a filter. Sitting in the theatre, I was shocked by some of the things that came out of some of the characters’ mouths. A good number of those things were funny and things that no one would say to another person in public, however this small town apparently has no time for being discreet.
The towns’ people didn’t seem to care when a police officer tortured a Black American who was under arrest or when the same cop walks around and makes openly homophobic remarks. This film touches on the issue of why some things are acceptable while others are not with some dark humor that I think works very well. Mildred is only trying to get justice for her daughter and the town doesn’t feel like that publicly questioning Chief Willoughby is the way to do it. They believe Chief Willoughby is a good man and it shows throughout the film; you never get the feeling like he is covering up something.
Officer Dixon, who is in question for a lot of these bigoted actions and remarks, does a great job of showing change throughout the entire film; Dixon is played by Sam Rockwell. The character arch for Officer Dixon is one that changes him. In the film, he goes through a lot and sees a lot, which is why he changes. He starts off as someone who we are meant to hate, but ends up being someone we want to root for.
For someone like me who watches movies all the time, my favorite part about this movie was not knowing what was going to happen next. Watching most films today, we can most of the time guess the next outcome. However, these characters would make choices that didn’t even cross my mind.
Leaving the outcome of the story a mystery is one of my favorite things about films. Not being able to guess what will happen, and what the person on screen will do next, brings excitement back into watching films. All in all, I would give this movie a five out of five and recommend that everyone go see it. Please let me know what you all think!