Under the Radar

Home Video: 'Three Billboards'

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" (available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Movies Anywhere) almost won Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars. It did win Best Actress for France McDormand and Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell.

The movie caught a wave and has been identified as a fable about racism and the lower value put on a woman's life in middle American culture. No way. But it is a dark comedy created by British writer/director Martin McDonagh (nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director) filtered through his own US of A fantasies fueled by a steady diet of Quentin Tarantino and Coen Brothers movies.

McDonagh previously directed the wickedly funny hitman comedy "In Bruges" with Colin Farrell and the profound train wreck "Seven Psychopaths" with Rockwell, Farrell and Christopher Walken. 

This time, he tells the story of a mother (McDormand) enraged by local law enforcement's failure to arrest and prosecute the men who raped and murdered her daughter. She rents three billboards on a rural country road and calls the sheriff (Woody Harrelson, also nominated for Best Supporting Actor) to task. The town goes into an uproar and an idiot deputy (Rockwell) takes far too much personal offense at the attack on his boss. There's cussing and violence and bad behavior with effective comic relief from Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones") as used car dealer with a crush on Frances.

I live in small-town America and none of my neighbors would recognize themselves in this picture, so ignore anyone who says this movie is about small-town American. It is a demented Frank Capra movie filtered through the darkest impulses of 90s indie filmmaking. 
 Black comedies like "Three Billboards" never get this kind of acclaim and this is definitely not a movie that would appeal to a broad audience. McDormand, Rockwell and Harrelson all give performances that elevate the movie from its underground roots. Just don't complain about a fable not being "realistic" when it's over.

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