There’s one time of the year when everyone seems to go absolutely mental over drama’s in the film industry, awards season. Usually, I refuse to go see the films that are pinned for Oscar dominance, I tend to find them a bit too pretentious or they end up being a massive disappointment. sorry to be controversial but La La Land just wasn’t my cup of tea! However, awards season does seem to be the one time of the year making a drama actually seems to pay off for producers and investors.
This year I bucked my trend of ditching the Award buzzing films and decided to just give em a go! Starting with the hotly anticipated, Three Billboards…
Three Billboards tells the story of Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother whose on a mission to find the man guilty of raping and killing her teenage daughter, this film is not for the faint hearted.
Out of frustration with the police department she rents three billboards in order to spark action in the town’s sheriff, Chief Willoughby, played by the fantastic Woody Harrelson. However, instead of motivating, the billboards anger the townspeople including the sheriff and his racist and homophobic colleague, Jason Dixon. To complicate matters further, as it’s common knowledge that Sheriff Willoughby is dying from pancreatic cancer the townspeople harass and even threaten Mildred and her depressed son in an effort to get her to take down the billboards, nevertheless, Mildred remains firm and stubborn to her cause which leads to both tragic and comic moments of dramatic perfection.
Three Billboards is the latest cinematic offering from the genius of Martin McDonagh, the same writer/director who brought us the deliciously dark In Bruges (2008) and Seven Psychopaths (2012). Just like these two, McDonagh is able to fine tune the balance between comedy and utter tragedy in order to truly get to an audiences gut.
However, Three Billboards is not just an Oscar worthy drama, it’s a film that speaks to the universal mass, its a tale of a Mothers love and how far it stretches, even in this films case, beyond death. As a young female who went through the traumatic experience of losing her own mother, this left a large lump in my throat.
Nevertheless, in true McDonagh style there wasn’t long until I was laughing at something ridiculous the character had said or done. That’s the gift of McDonagh he offers audiences a truly human cinematic moment with themes in his films that can shock but also inspire and he does this once again with Three…
It speaks of revenge, of how dangerous and damaging the quest for it can be and it manages to blend it effortlessly with the beauty of forgiveness. It’s a humbling and moving cinematic experience.
In terms of structure, as everything with McDonagh it’s down to a T. The worthy and enjoyable protagonist of Mildred who wants nothing more but to see her daughters’ killer brought to justice is the very beating heart of the film. What could very well become a very stereotypical portrayal of a Southern American town which cleverly represents the antagonist of this piece actually becomes a lot more vivid and three dimensional. In the end, the film is more of journey and the ending hits the perfect thematic note.
Overall, if you plan on seeing this in cinemas, I highly recommend you too. Even if you’re not a fan of seemingly low budget drama this film will not disappoint. A true Oscar contender if I ever did see one.