Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ★★

File this under: I'm not sure what everyone else was watching.... This was just harsh and ultimately lazy for me.

The impeccably titled Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the new film from In Bruges filmmaker Martin McDonagh, is a catalogue of American hatred. Principally, the two-sided hatred of police for protecting their own instead of facing the hatred that oozes within many police stations throughout the country.

McDonagh uses many hateful words toward people of color, homosexuals, and the police; The Show Me State is here to show us all sides of hate in Three Billboards. It focuses primarily on two characters where hatred of the other side is the basis of their character. Hatred of the police and hatred of civilians. There are a few characters who represent the gray area in between, who offer olive branches that are only received once each of the characters have been humbled. There’s a message that the only way to heal the gap between civilians and police in America is to work together as opposed to each side seeing the other as the opposition. There’s also the message that the only way to get through to the “bad apple” policeman is to take their gun and badge without paid leave or severance. These are agreeable messages for anyone who has a heart but Three Billboards only gets there by escalating violence—without nary an arrest on either side—to absurd heights. This is an extremely harsh movie that has some great moments, earns some uncomfortable laughs, but can’t complete the tightrope walk because the two principal forces that have to come together are complete caricatures of all-consuming grief and all-consuming above-the-law cop swagger. These aren’t characters as much as they are, ahem, billboards.

More at Collider.

Brian liked these reviews