THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
hopscotchee: woody harrelson score: 89.5 rating: R time: 115 minutes
if you haven't heard about three billboards outside ebbing, missouri, it is fitting to first mention that it was the winner for best motion picture drama at the 2018 golden globe awards. and, based on its sheer bluntness in storytelling alone, rightfully freakin' so. this film was so stunningly cohesive and really well-done, perfectly highlighting the drama that occurs in a small town, while creating a respectable and informative piece that appropriately addresses social issues of our time. and with covid affecting the ability to easily go out to the movies, at-home-viewing-etiquette can tend to slip, so as you sit down to watch this film, please, put your phone away (liked you'd even be bored enough to check it for this movie) and give it the respect that it deserves.
this movie already sets itself apart from others, because, for years, directors have been hesitant to tell stories about rape or told not to. but, in contrast, for martin mcdonagh to not only release his film in the heat of the me too movement, but also center it around mildred, a woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind and (spoiler) won't stop until she seeks justice for her daughter, just goes to show the power and confidence that this film has all together. and the way martin mcdonagh was able to coherently portray how this one horrific event greatly influenced three adults in the town (mildred, bill, and jason), not only drew emphasis on their different positions on social controversies, but also, united them each together in attempt to, in their own opinions, do what's best for the town.
so, major props to martin mcdongah, for breaking the chain in telling a story that was long overdue, but he also deserves high respect for his creative play with it. he was able to balance the three stories out through the shot comp. that was all so consistent. the shots went hand and hand with each other, feeling whole rather than put together, which made the audience feel as though they were in the town, amongst the characters themselves. one scene in particular that was so impactful was (spoiler) when jason, after learning about the death of chief willoughby, goes across the street, beats up, and pushes red out of his window. martin mcdonagh, thoughtfully, keeps this one continuous shot, rather than, traditionally, breaking up this action sequence, adding to the pent up frustration inside jason. this makes you, as the audience, feel more attached to what he is doing and even more surprised when he acts out violently. cleverly intentional, this style of filming forces you to be aware and witness his grief, following him into the decision. and snaps to sam rockwell, as always, for portraying stunted-maturity so well.
which, hello banshee!! long time no see!! if you aren't familiar with the x-men saga, the man who was thrown out of the window is mr. caleb landry jones. you can imagine our excitement when he popped on screen with his polka-dot button up, looking so fly he didn't need to scream (hehehe x-men joke). however, our excitement soon turned to fascination by what a great job he did. even if he was only a secondary character, there's too much talent there to be overlooked.
some people, however, may have trouble with the progression of the film. like we said, above, this film tells the stories of three characters, so this comes across more of a novella. rather than a full-length feature, going off a story of events, this was a story of character evolution. it starts where the characters are at, without a lot of backstory, that can be confusing for the audience at first but makes the viewer pay more attention to the situations occurring. also, maybe not up one's alley, this movie (spoiler) doesn't have a traditional wrapped-in-a-bow ending. unlike most, this one can be particularly harder for an audience to leave, because just like mildred, you, too, want to see justice served. however, this ending, although not satisfying, gives the audience a greater perspective of what happens in real life with sexual assault cases.
all in all, for a film that takes on political and societal issues about sexual assault and racial discrimination, it is hopeful to see that martin mcdonagh, a white man in hollywood, optimized his platform to not overlook this story, directing, producing, and writing it.
-- thanks, woody xo