Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 2017)

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MoonlitKnight
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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#26 Post by MoonlitKnight » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:40 am

The extremely odd use of ABBA's "Chiquitita" kind of stuck out for me... though I was actually most perplexed by Abbie Cornish speaking with her normal accent. What sort of learnéd Aussie in her right mind would voluntarily end up in simple-minded small-town Middle America? :-s

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#27 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:05 pm

Shrew wrote:So this proved to me that... Martin McDonagh knows shit about America.
Took the thought right out of my brain. This was one of the more deeply frustrating movies I've seen this year, in competition largely with the other McDonagh brother's War on Everyone, and for much the same reasons. I love In Bruges and Calvary, but it seems clear now that the brothers' aptitude for characterizations and observations that seemed sharp and focused when applied to Irish people in Ireland or Europe is smothered by their propensity to get lost in touristic commentary on an American they don't seem to understand beyond the most shallow of levels. Three Billboards raises issues of violence against women, racism, and police brutality like an obnoxious visitor to a gift shop in another country, holding them up and shouting, "Look how weird this is! What kind of people make this?" before throwing them aside to gawk at the next oddity.

I agree with mfunk that there are some elements with value here (unlike War on Everyone), which adds to the frustration; I still believe in the McDonagh's talents for making entertaining, funny, and acidic character studies, but they have got to refocus themselves on what they do well and away from the leering fascination with American culture that has scuttled both of their efforts this year (as well as Seven Psychopaths).

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#28 Post by Shrew » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:30 pm

The zoo thing didn't actually bother me, considering the St. Louis Zoo is pretty well-known and isn't uncommon for people in rural areas to commute to a city, especially if they have specific skills/interests like caring for large animals. But that might just be me filling in McDonagh's blanks for him.

The use of music is odd, and a little too focused on being "counterpoint" to the situations, but I didn't mind it. Unlike Seven Psychopaths, which randomly and awkwardly deployed two tracks off The Walkmen's then recent Lisbon.

Another problem I had with the film was its failure to convincingly flesh out its small town, so all the social "pressure" McDormand is said to be under is merely abstract, save for one attempted root canal. Some of this might have to with McDonagh's stage instincts; one of three characters is at the center of every scene and conversation, which limits the interactions the other characters can have and stymies and development of the community.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#29 Post by rohmerin » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:42 pm

Those hills, are the same as in Deliverance?

Terrific film, just te -rri - fic. I've loved and enjoyed all.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#30 Post by Cde. » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:03 pm

Found this to be blandly directed and an emotionally shallow and manipulative script embarrassingly reliant on contrivance.

Just as one not mentioned so far,
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Why would the guy who raped and immolated a girl in Iraq, come in to harass a woman trying to find justice for a daughter that suffered the same fate as his victim? What's his game? Is he just a random asshole? What are the chances that he boasts about this exact same crime within earshot of the guy who's just devoted his life to trying to solve that identical crime? He only exists as a red herring.
Coincidences are inevitable in drama but this film goes way too far in what it asks the audience to buy, again and again and again. It would be more bearable if I didn't think these instances were in the service of making more simple and easy the redemption of morally repugnant characters.

I don't like what McDonaugh is up to here one bit.


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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#32 Post by Altair » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:28 pm

I thought it was terrific and think a lot of the criticisms about believability are sort of missing the point - the film operates as a tragic farce. Everything is amplified, both in terms of emotions and actions (such as the police station firebombing) and it didn't go the easy way by providing a convenient narrative resolution, only the final exchange in the car hinting towards redemption. The performances were uniformly excellent and I admire McDonagh's ability to switch between humour and raw emotion so deftly - the audience I saw it laughed a lot. Best picture of the year? Probably not, but for once I won't begrudge it if the Academy chooses to shower the film in glory.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#33 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:05 pm

Altair wrote:... only the final exchange in the car hinting towards redemption.
Is redemption what they’re headed for in that scene?

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#34 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:16 pm

McDonagh seems to be suggesting that people on both sides of the equation need to stop asking for restitution (or, more pointedly, reparations) and move on as a community, but I'm not sure why the ending needed to be so damply ambiguous.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#35 Post by TMDaines » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:49 pm

Altair wrote:I thought it was terrific and think a lot of the criticisms about believability are sort of missing the point - the film operates as a tragic farce. Everything is amplified, both in terms of emotions and actions (such as the police station firebombing) and it didn't go the easy way by providing a convenient narrative resolution, only the final exchange in the car hinting towards redemption. The performances were uniformly excellent and I admire McDonagh's ability to switch between humour and raw emotion so deftly - the audience I saw it laughed a lot. Best picture of the year? Probably not, but for once I won't begrudge it if the Academy chooses to shower the film in glory.
Right. People seem to be taking this one way too seriously. It’s a black comedy, a tragic farce as you say. The audience I was watching with was laughing throughout.

I’ve read people trying to skewer and dissect the casting as poorly representing the intended locale. Next you’ll be telling that Shakespere didn’t accurately depict his chosen settings. Whoosh...

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#36 Post by tavernier » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:56 pm

McDonagh is no Shakespeare.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#37 Post by Altair » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:45 am

DarkImbecile wrote:
Altair wrote:... only the final exchange in the car hinting towards redemption.
Is redemption what they’re headed for in that scene?
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My take on the scene is that they're not going to kill the potential rapist, but are beginning to understand that causing more harm will not solve anything - which seems to the film's underlining message: nothing Sam Rockwell or Frances McDormand do, be it throwing people out of windows or blowing up a police station, actually brings her daughter's rapist-killer to justice.
Last edited by Altair on Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#38 Post by cdnchris » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:01 am

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I took it that way as well. They were going with the intention of killing him but as they're driving you get a sense that they're not all that amped up about it and they know it won't accomplish anything and won't end up doing anything. I actually didn't find anything all that ambiguous about it.
I actually feel like I watched a completely different movie from everyone else here as I didn't see much of anything anyone else has been criticizing. Everything is so extreme I only saw it as a farce as well. I'm actually really bewildered by a lot (though not all) of the negative criticisms in here, but maybe I need tobwatch it again.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#39 Post by TMDaines » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:31 pm

I am reassured now there is a few of us!

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#40 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:53 pm

Something interesting I noticed with my viewing experience is the audience I was with seemed to collectively miss the boat on the turn towards earnest drama, which really mangled the second half of the movie. For example, when Willoughby
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coughed up blood
everyone roared with laughter, and everyone was giggling during the deer scene, which felt like a Tennessee Williams parody - did anyone take it straight? It's such an ambiguously toned movie, I've seen other people say they felt like they saw a totally different film so it kind of doesn't surprise me that discourse over it is so muddled.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#41 Post by McCrutchy » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:43 am

Altair wrote:I thought it was terrific and think a lot of the criticisms about believability are sort of missing the point - the film operates as a tragic farce. Everything is amplified, both in terms of emotions and actions (such as the police station firebombing) and it didn't go the easy way by providing a convenient narrative resolution, only the final exchange in the car hinting towards redemption. The performances were uniformly excellent and I admire McDonagh's ability to switch between humour and raw emotion so deftly - the audience I saw it laughed a lot. Best picture of the year? Probably not, but for once I won't begrudge it if the Academy chooses to shower the film in glory.
cdnchris wrote:I actually feel like I watched a completely different movie from everyone else here as I didn't see much of anything anyone else has been criticizing. Everything is so extreme I only saw it as a farce as well. I'm actually really bewildered by a lot (though not all) of the negative criticisms in here, but maybe I need to watch it again.
Finally, some sense in this thread.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#42 Post by TMDaines » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:25 am

Magic Hate Ball wrote:Something interesting I noticed with my viewing experience is the audience I was with seemed to collectively miss the boat on the turn towards earnest drama, which really mangled the second half of the movie. For example, when Willoughby
SpoilerShow
coughed up blood
everyone roared with laughter, and everyone was giggling during the deer scene, which felt like a Tennessee Williams parody - did anyone take it straight? It's such an ambiguously toned movie, I've seen other people say they felt like they saw a totally different film so it kind of doesn't surprise me that discourse over it is so muddled.
I’d argue you that it was you who boarded the wrong boat. There was no turn to earnest drama particularly. The Willoughby moment was designed to get laughs (where the audience may laugh and then reflect on the appropriateness of what they are actually laughing at). I can’t remember people’s reactions to the deer scene.
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The suicide scene was the best example of this. It was touching and heartfelt, but at the same time it was undercut by dick jokes which left you pulled between laughter and tears.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#43 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:44 pm

TMDaines wrote:I’d argue you that it was you who boarded the wrong boat. There was no turn to earnest drama particularly. The Willoughby moment was designed to get laughs (where the audience may laugh and then reflect on the appropriateness of what they are actually laughing at). I can’t remember people’s reactions to the deer scene.
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The suicide scene was the best example of this. It was touching and heartfelt, but at the same time it was undercut by dick jokes which left you pulled between laughter and tears.
I mean, for me it's that the "raw emotion" aspects fell flat because the script felt so jumbled in general (compare to Beauty Queen of Leenane, which walks an almost identical line with diamond-hard precision), but a lot of people I've talked to have indicated that the coughing scene is a moment where you're supposed to have a sudden gasp of emotion or something, and someone else said the deer scene was McDormand's "Oscar moment" (a moment I've also seen referred to as "haunting").

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#44 Post by Roscoe » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:59 am

Funny, I don't even remember the deer moment. For me McDormand's Oscar-moment, the scene in the film that keeps coming back to me most clearly and the movie's real moment of pure absolute hot smoking payback, is that little moment in the restaurant where she shoots a look at John Hawks that clearly communicates, "wow. you chose this over me did you."

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#45 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:33 pm

cdnchris wrote:
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I took it that way as well. They were going with the intention of killing him but as they're driving you get a sense that they're not all that amped up about it and they know it won't accomplish anything and won't end up doing anything. I actually didn't find anything all that ambiguous about it.
I actually feel like I watched a completely different movie from everyone else here as I didn't see much of anything anyone else has been criticizing. Everything is so extreme I only saw it as a farce as well. I'm actually really bewildered by a lot (though not all) of the negative criticisms in here, but maybe I need tobwatch it again.
I enjoyed it as a pitch black comedy as well, but it doesn't rate high enough for me to agree with it winning best picture awards. As to the final moments...
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...I took the exchange to emphasize how humans (or, Americans specifically, if you want to see the film as an outsider's critique) are unable to maintain a civilized attitude toward mercy. For a while, the populace seems to endorse "love thy neighbor" mandates, but it can be easily swayed to more barbaric, revenge-filled thinking. "We'll decide along the way" implies that the pendulum will continue to swing back-and-forth with the descent to barbarism always a possibility.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#46 Post by wattsup32 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:46 pm

If you’ve ever asked yourself what would happen if an 8th grade boy watched a lot of late career Sorkin and decided to write a “woke” screenplay, this film is your answer.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#47 Post by chavdarpanov » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:23 am

Well, I have mixed feelings about the film - not a big fan of McDonagh myself, but having seen almost everything he has done as a movie director, The Three Billboards is probably his best work so far.
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I think the main idea is that justice is dead - there are so many clues in that direction - the death of the sheriff in the middle of the film, the bombing of the police station, all the unpunished events, like throwing a man out of the window in front of the new sheriff, McDormand's character void from any legal or moral principles (though strongly compassionate and sensitive), the absolute inability by everyone to find any trace of the killer, but most of all - the only "real", though again void and absurd attempts of Rockwell's character to search justice only after he does not work for the police any more. The ending is logical in that respect as the two main characters join forces in an aimless journey to a man, who has nothing to do with the crime. On top of it, there are many road metaphors in the film - actually, the frame of the film is in cars - the beginning and the end, the billboards, the leaving train with the American flag in the scene, when the sheriff's letter is read by Mildred, also when she is sitting beside the road after the bombing of the police station, etc.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#48 Post by domino harvey » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:02 pm

If this film wins a single Oscar for anything, it will be a tragedy. A film operating on a wavelength as far removed from my own sense of humor as possible, this is a collection of overwritten dialog exchanges that boggle the mind in their awfulness. This bilge sounds like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fanfic (and Mac’s mom is even in the film), with rampant negativity and swears masquerading as wit. The plot mechanations and coincidences that stack up run a distant second to the inescapably awful characters and the shit they say to each other. I don’t object to this film giving redemption to a racist cop, I object to the cartoonish characterization of said cop for the entirety of the film, and likewise every other character he encounters. I know one isn’t supposed to read this film as taking place in anything resembling the world we live in, but I quickly grew tired of McDormand doing illegal things that would have easily gotten her locked up (like, say, kneeing two teenagers in front of at least thirty witnesses) for moments of dopey audience pleasing bravura. I didn’t like anyone in this movie, and what’s worse, I found them all uninteresting.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#49 Post by Boosmahn » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:00 am

I don't get the rampant hate for this film. There are plot holes I wish were addressed (particularly with McDormand's character), but everything else was pretty enjoyable. The movie does require a lot of suspension of disbelief, though.

Edit: looking back, there is one scene involving a deer that's completely... cheesy? Out-of-place? Hackneyed? All of the above?
Last edited by Boosmahn on Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 201

#50 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:03 am

Who can forget that monologue to that absolutely out of place Catholic priest about the bloods and the crips? Is that what you mean by requiring suspension of disbelief?

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