Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ★★½

I've been putting off writing about this film, almost in an attempt to trick myself into liking it more than I do, simply because I don't want to admit McDonagh delivered a big, ambitious swing and a miss. But the further I get from it the less I like it and I have even less things to say about it. There are some fine things to admire, mostly in the performances, but the film just feels written, and sloppily so. And it's not that I need the writer to disappear, I like every Tarantino film and it's impossible not to feel his presence, but the dialogue and situations in Three Billboards feel so artificial and forced at times (Woody repeatedly saying goddamn in front of his kids felt false in the trailer and was only the tip of the iceberg) even character arcs that could be seen as interesting and compelling call for too big of a one-eighty, not only in an attitude adjustment but also seemingly a mental capacity (remember in Friends when they decided to hook Joey up with Rachel so they started making him less dumb and goofy so you could believe she'd be with him, kind of like that). I want to believe McDonagh's heart is in the right place and my love for In Bruges makes it difficult for me to not give him the benefit of the doubt, but at times this definitely comes across as a tone-deaf outsider painting a picture with all of America's recent lowlights, racism, sexism, police violence, with just a touch of that old Catholic pedophilia, and yet they seem to exist here merely to push buttons. Anger begets anger and maybe, hopefully, kindness begets kindness, but all I feel is disappointment.

jswysin liked these reviews