Roundabout this time last year, I went to an advanced screening of Martin McDonagh's new film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. McDonagh is an under-appreciated writer and director with two feature films to his name, In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. He works frequently with my favorite actor, Sam Rockwell, and I hadn't even heard of his latest until I got the invite to the screening. Let me tell you, folks, you don't want to miss this movie when it hits North American theaters starting November 10.
McDonagh is a deconstructionalist filmmaker. Seven Psychopaths was an exercise in deconstructing the typical motor-mouthed small cast violent comedy, and it worked in large part thanks to its brilliant cast like Rockwell and Christopher Walken. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri finds the filmmaker moving back toward his first feature film, the brilliant In Bruges, with a more traditional narrative that doesn't spare on the commentary, but relegates it to singular scenes, like the one seen in this trailer.
There's been a trend in films like The Queen and Wild to have the main character talk to a cgi-animal that is supposed to represent the spirit of a human being from that character's past. This movie has that scene and then beautifully breaks it down thanks to the amazing work of Frances McDormand. Seriously, between her, Woody Harrelson, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, recent Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges, and especially Rockwell, they really sell the material. If they stick with the ending that I saw—which I sincerely hope they do—it's going to be divisive and open-ended enough to aggravate some audience members.
November 10 presumably in New York and L.A. The following week in about twenty more cities, early December if you live near at least one multiplex. Go see this movie. Check out the full red band trailer below, if you haven't seen it yet...