Ashdoc's Movie Review---three Billboards Outside Ebbing , Missouri | Sikh Philosophy Network
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Ashdoc's Movie Review---three Billboards Outside Ebbing , Missouri


Movie Critic
Jul 19, 2011
Review has spoilers

A woman approaches the businessman who has the rights to three Billboards outside Ebbing in the state of Missouri in US . She pays real money to have them painted with words provocative to Sheriff Willoughby ( Woody Harrelson ) . The words ask him to take action on the case of the rape and murder of her daughter , because nothing has been happening in the case after some investigation which reached a dead end . One of the billboards says 'raped while dying' .

The sheriff is outraged , his deputy is outraged , and indeed the whole town is outraged . That's because the sheriff is respected locally and also because he is dying due to cancer . But that is not going to deter Mildred Hayes ( Frances McDormand ) . When the local priest tries to coerce her into removing the billboards , he gets blasted off by a tirade by her about churchmen screwing altar boys . The leftists' opponent ( the church ) thus gets a lambasting , and God is brushed aside as nonexistent .

Earlier when deputy Dixon ( Sam Rockwell ) of the police station tries to get Mildred remove the billboards , he is shown his place by Mildred with taunts of being a black hating racist . From this point one has to assume that the rapists of her daughter must be white , even though they are not yet found ( and are not ever found in the movie ) . For it is obvious from the movie's tone that it is going to be politically correct and that demands a white rapist . Sure enough , a white suspect is found but he is not the daughter's rapist . Never mind , Mildred and deputy Dixon then set out to kill him instead because the deputy has overheard him boasting about a rape when drunk .

Participation in this killing is part of the redemption of Deputy Dixon ; redemption for being a black hating racist . We have to presume that he is racist due to verbal accusations flung on him mostly by Mildred . But scenes of him actually practising this racism are not really shown . That would have tarnished his image beyond redemption . But his violence is shown in a scene where he throws the guy who owns the billboards from the first floor after he has heard news that Sheriff Willoughby committed suicide by shooting himself by a gun .

At first we definitely sympathise with Mildred while seeing the movie . The lady is feisty and has tough words for anyone who tries to strike a verbal duel with her , or even anyone who doesn't . The dialogues in the movie are sharp and laced with dark humour that keeps in splits even in grim situations . But later her persona goes out of control by burning down the police station with petrol bombs after it has closed down in evening . She does not know that Dixon is there , but he escapes only to help her later even though he has got burns on his face due to the attack .

The director could have chosen to have a conventional ending by showing the man overheard boasting about rape as the real culprit . But the real culprit is never found , and the movie is thus about the effects of the rape on a very active mother and how she manages to shake up things in her town when she does not get justice .

There is some violence in the movie and foul language ; cuss words are regularly used . There is no denying that the proceedings are gripping . Background music and photography are decent , but it is in acting and dialogue delivery that the movie scores .

Verdict---Good .

Three stars out of five .

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