Film Notes: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) directed and written by Martin McDonagh

US –UK / 115 min / Color / Blueprint Pictures Dir: Martin McDonagh Pro: Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin, Martin McDonagh Scr: Martin McDonagh Cin: Ben Davis Mus: Carter Burwell Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Zeljko Ivanek, Caleb Landry Jones, Clarke Peters, Samara Weaving, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Sandy Martin, Amanda Warren, Brendan Sexton III, Kerry Condon, Kathryn Newton, Darrell Britt-Gibson Synopsis: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a darkly comedic drama from Academy Award® winner 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, commissioning 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 (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.(Source: Fox Searchlight Pictures) Release dates: 4 September 2017 (Venice Film Festival) 10 September 2017 (Toronto International  Film Festival) 20 September 2017 (Helsinki International Film Festival) 24 September 2017 (Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival) 10 November 2017 (USA) 12 January 2018 (Spain and UK) Spanish title: Tres anuncios en las afueras IMDb Rating:  8.3.

Begoña and I had the opportunity to watch yesterday Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, one of these films that makes you love the cinema. Something I badly needed, after a very disappointing film we went to see lately.

MV5BZTZjYzU2NTktNTdmNi00OTM0LTg5MDgtNGFjOGMzNjY0MDk5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMxODk2OTU@._V1_SX675_CR0,0,675,999_AL_McDonagh was inspired to write Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri after seeing billboards about an unsolved crime while traveling “somewhere down in the Georgia, Florida, Alabama corner“. Of the event that inspired the film, McDonagh stated “the rage that put a bunch of billboards like that up was palpable and stayed with me“. Eventually he was inspired to create a fictional scenario around such a situation, noting, “Once I decided, in my head, that it was a mother, everything fell into place.” The character of Mildred was written with Frances McDormand in mind. McDormand initially wanted the character to be a grandmother which McDonagh disagreed with, feeling that it would change the story too much. Eventually McDormand’s husband Joel Coen convinced her to take the part regardless. McDormand took inspiration for her character from John Wayne. This eventually inspired Sam Rockwell to take inspiration for his character in part from Wayne’s co-star in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Lee Marvin, noting that he wanted to make his character “the exact opposite” of Mildred.  As with Mildred being written for McDormand, the character of Dixon was specifically written for Rockwell. (Source: Wikipedia)

Martin McDonagh (who won an Academy Award for his debut short film) has created a darkly comic drama that is smart, narratively unpredictable, and filled with superb performances. As with McDonagh’s previous work (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) the focus of Three Billboardsis on character-driven plot. Even McDonagh’s most irredeemable characters are momentarily sympathetic and evolving, allowing us to embrace the hopefulness that implies. On its surface, Three Billboards is a film about grief, forgiveness, anger, and resilience. Yet McDonagh layers in myriad observational moments about racism, war, sexism, and a deeply divided society, all captured in this fictional Missouri town. Ever present is a low-simmering tension that occasionally bursts into violence but always in the service of releasing emotion that a character is unable to articulate. (Source: TIFF, written by Jane Schoettle)

About the director: Martin McDonagh was born in London to Irish parents. He is a renowned playwright and filmmaker, and won an Academy Award for his debut short, Six Shooter (06). He subsequently directed In Bruges (08) and Seven Psychopaths (12), which played at the Festival and received the Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (17) is his latest feature.

Martin McDonagh on Directing ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and Writing for Frances McDormand

Martin McDonagh on the real-life inspiration behind ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

The Hollywood Reporter

3 thoughts on “Film Notes: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) directed and written by Martin McDonagh”

  1. I’ve been very much wanting to see this one, José Ignacio. I’m glad you found it a good experience.

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