Opens: January 1, 2018
Duration: 115 minutes
The trailer of this bluntly titled film set in a small southern US town makes it look like a cruel, pitch-black comedy in which the audience is invited to laugh along as Frances McDormand’s hayseed protagonist, Mildred, beats up and crudely insults everyone in sight. Grieving her teenage daughter’s murder and sick of the local police’s inability to solve the crime, Mildred erects three billboards aimed at embarrassing the cops into action.
Yet while the film certainly has its fair spray of black comedy, not all of it that amusing, it turns out, to its benefit, to be far more morally layered, unpredictable and thoughtful than its marketing campaign suggests. The writer-director is Irishman Martin McDonagh (In Bruges), not to be confused with his equally talented filmmaking brother, John Michael McDonagh (Calvary).