This marks the third film—and the third masterpiece—for writer-director Martin McDonagh. It also marks another astonishing film achievement for Frances McDormand, who will bore into your chest cavity and do all kinds of crazy shit to your heart as Mildred, a justifiably pissed off mother who has a few issues with the cops in her town.
It’s been five years since Mildred’s young daughter was raped and killed by unknown murderers, who finished their awful deed by burning her body. Mildred, who isn’t even close to getting over the tragedy, spies some old, dilapidated billboards on the way home and gets an idea. One meeting with a sloppy advertising agent (Caleb Landry Jones) later, and some guys are commissioned to put some alarmingly provocative signs up on those billboards.
Woody Harrelson is first rate as the man being called out in those billboards for not finding the killers; Harrelson’s 2017 has been astoundingly good. Sam Rockwell gets the high profile acting showcase he deserves as racist deputy Dixon. Rockwell’s Dixon, the town drunk and racist homophobe who has a thing for throwing people out of windows, undergoes a transformation that is a kind of movie miracle. McDonagh knows how to write a script that keeps you in it for every line. While the film is somewhat a murder mystery, the solving of the crime takes a back seat to watching these folks play off each other.
There are scenes in this movie that will knock you on the floor. The whole cast is incredible; McDormand and Rockwell will both destroy you.