Film of the week: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Film of the week: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Frances McDormand givens an award-magnet of a performance

In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh her delivers a course correction after the wobbly Seven Psychopaths, restoring the blend of dark comedy and ethical seriousness his reputation is founded on. Frances McDormand, in an award-magnet of a performance, erects three billboards outside her small town calling attention to sheriff Woody Harrelson’s failure to find the man who raped and murdered her daughter. The cast — including Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones and John Hawkes — are uniformly terrific, it’s both lighter and deeper than that premise suggests, and seemingly meandering tangents resolve into an enormously satisfying whole. McDonagh’s clumsy handling of race aside (Sam Rockwell’s deputy character seems at first just an excuse to edgily drop some N-bombs), this is one to savour, not least because of its unlikely emergence as an Oscar front-runner.


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