The most interesting portion of the new film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is its title. After that flashed across the screen, the movie goes downhill — rapidly.
The story of the film centers on Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) whose daughter was raped, killed, and then had her body burnt. After seven months without answers from the police department, Hayes decides to take action by renting out of three billboards on the edge of town. Hayes' message on billboards questions the department’s integrity and lack of movement on the case. Once the billboards are spotted, it escalates into an all-out war pitting Hayes against Police Chief Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and his officers.
Several stories are happening all at once throughout the film, which works really hard to capture the attention of the audience. These stories are inherently incomplete with a lot of unanswered questions that create gaps in the plot. Instead of focusing on several stories the writers and the directors should have paired it down to a single storyline instead of chasing a constant stream of tangents.
I felt that while the premise of the film was good, but the execution of it was weak and shoddy at best. The trailer for this film presented exciting characters with an interesting narrative.
What my fellow audience members and I got was feeling of bewilderment. I heard one person behind me remark, as the credits were rolling, “this movie was so bad that I bet it will win an Oscar.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Hollywood has a trend of giving their top award to bad films. A few of the worst include “Pearl Harbor,” “Crash,” “Birdman,” and “Munich.”
This film is also billed as a dark comedy crime film. Over the 115 minutes, I really didn’t see anything to laugh about, though. Sometimes laughing about someone's pain can provide a little bit of awkward laughter, which makes you feel guilty later for laughing.
After a while, those jokes just become tasteless and void of humor.
While Harrelson’s performance is marginal at best, don’t let his involvement with this movie compel you to see it. It is not worth your time or your money. There are a lot of better options to choose from this weekend in theaters.
I give “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” one mustache out of five.
This film is rated R for violence, language throughout, and some sexual references.