I’d ordered a DVD of this film months ago when it first came out, and then forgot all about it. Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised when it landed on my doormat, and I discovered that playwright Martin McDonagh has written a really great screenplay here; a quirky plot that when you watch the film you wish that you’d thought of it first!
Mildred Hayes’ daughter Angela was raped and murdered, but 8 months’ later the police in Ebbing, Missouri, led by Chief William Willoughby, do not seem to be making much progress in finding her killer.
A new road has been built into Ebbing, and the old road is now the one less travelled, so to speak. Mildred is driving along the old road and thinks of a way to utilise the three old billboards doing nothing at the side of the road. She enlists the help of advertising agent Red Welby and pays for three adverts to be posted onto the billboards. When the police and the townsfolk get to read the adverts it causes a storm of protest, which is further whipped up by the local TV news station.
Mildred is not flavour of the month, especially as Chief Willoughby (played by Woody Harrelson) has problems of his own, but she has brought attention to her cause in the most direct way she can think of. It’s a wonderful, gritty performance by Frances McDormand as Mildred, who is struggling to come to terms with not only her daughter’s death, but also the fact that her husband has left her for a 19 year old girl. Ms McDormand won an Academy Award for Best Actress for playing Mildred, and when you watch the film you’ll understand why.
There is a smattering of humour in the script to offset what some might think of as a depressing plot. There are quite a few f-bombs, so don’t watch if you are offended by bad language. Sam and I were glued to our seats for the whole 2 hours without even a break for a cup of tea!Definitely five stars for this one – a most original plot.