Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Whoooaa, I never would have imagined that my two least favorite parts of this movie would be Frances McDormand's performance and Martin McDonagh's script!! In McDormand's case, it felt like a case of bad direction, wherein the actress was portraying whatever unsubtle emotion was being demanded of her for each scene. She lived in her character as much as she could, but couldn't fully occupy an illogical, overdrawn plot device. I don't blame her.
Seeing work like this from McDonagh really stressed me out, though. If this were a stylistic departure, I would think that he was just trying something on and it didn't fit. But this is clearly a McDonagh piece, revisiting many of his favorite themes and chasing his trademark gallows humor, but doing so poorly. McDormand's musings to a deer - "She's not coming back. They killed her, and now she's dead" - were a particularly low point in the script. Is this a sign of a writer who has passed his prime? I hope not, because his plays and movies are both favorites of mine.
This is not to say that I hated sitting through this film. There were wonderful, scenery-munching performances, namely by Sam Rockwell and Caleb Landry Jones, and moments of McDonagh's poetic violence. Rockwell's and Landry's climactic (?) scene in the advertising office was a gleefully engulfing moment of horror. Sandy Martin, Lucas Hedges, and John Hawkes were all great. But how Peter Dinklage was wasted! And, oh, how tone-deaf and wannabe 2000's South Park the dwarf jokes felt.
Maybe this was an experiment in aggressive tonal shifts and unstructured storytelling. Maybe I am missing the point. To me, though, this movie felt disorganized, a series of plot requirements piled around a handful of phenomenal scenes.

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