Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - a Martin McDonagh film with McDormand, Harrelson, Rockwell, and SPOILERS

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This intentionally topical and troubling film has heavy critical / EOY buzz; what do we think? I started going on about it in the "In Bruges" thread but it's been fairly pointed out that that's not a great place for a spoilery discussion. To recap:

well, one vote for his new one on Slant. Nice cast anyway.

https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri

― ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, September 13, 2017 1:16 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

two months pass...

i found this movie troubling in all the ways it intends to be, and extremely well-acted, yet i find myself really annoyed with it. the angle of the police department's track record of brutality and racism, admittedly played up in the marketing but absolutely present in the film, is never seriously dealt with. the screenplay and acting heap tremendous sympathy on woody harrelson (so, what, he's absolved?) and about two-thirds of the way through start developing rockwell in a much more sympathetic direction, and knowing what we know about him this is really, really jarring. i've skimmed some of the rave reviews and i agree with everything they're saying but they do not mention this. a major character is clearly a racist cop who committed these acts of brutality, but it's not dwelled upon, it doesn't seem to come up even after he's committed more serious offenses that by rights should have him in jail, and at the end... well, i won't spoil.

and i'm not saying that the film straightforwardly asks us to like and sympathize with this character, nor that a film about a racist cop has to stop at depicting him as pure evil. because obviously this is a movie where the main protagonist also does some things that go beyond the pale, and we are forced to see her in a complicated moral light. but in 2017 to make a movie about american police, where racially-structured brutality is put in play as a theme, and then to end where we do is very.... weird. imo. it started to feel not like a deliberate provocative choice and more like a tone-deaf outsider filmmaker who Does Not Get It.

but maybe it's just me?

― gimme the beet poison, free my soul (Doctor Casino), Monday, November 27, 2017 10:10 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

all re: three billboards if that wasn't obvious. i loved in bruges.

― gimme the beet poison, free my soul (Doctor Casino), Monday, November 27, 2017 10:10 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I agree with all of that, Doctor C. I was also a bit put off by the scene in which the new chief comes to town, and he's black, and he immediately calls all the white officers crackers and motherfuckers and lays down the law and fires Dixon on the spot. It just seemed so pat, like a fantasy of police accountability--some good black officers in high places could take care of the bad white ones, and that would be that.

― JRN, Monday, November 27, 2017 10:23 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

(also reading back over my post above: i mean "more serious offenses" as in "additional serious offenses" not that they are "more serious" than the torture that apparently took place before the film started)

― gimme the beet poison, free my soul (Doctor Casino), Monday, November 27, 2017 11:34 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I used to think the Coen bros sometimes made bad movies, but really they were just lesser Coen bros movies. This movie and that terrible George Clooney movie that came out showed me what bad Coen bros movies would look like.

― Philip Nunez, Tuesday, November 28, 2017 12:05 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I definitely prefer McDonagh writing about Ireland than the U.S.

― ... (Eazy), Tuesday, November 28, 2017 12:50 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

and yeah agreed with JRN about the new chief. also the only black characters are him, the guy who put up the billboard, and the other gift shop employee. they're all accessory characters with none of the home lives or inner complexity that the rest of the cast are allowed. dinklage gets more screen time and more dialogue establishing his personhood than the woman who is arbitrarily and punitively jailed and then shows up to just be happy as can be that she's out and that mcdormand is still doing her thing. did she have any feelings about this situation?

― gimme the beet poison, free my soul (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, November 28, 2017 1:39 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i think the chief's backstory is that he is lester freamon from the wire.
the mom from it's always sunny was a bit of on-the-nose casting, too.

― Philip Nunez, Tuesday, November 28, 2017 2:26 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I might ask that, if you're not going to make a separate thread for it, you'd refrain from "and then this thing happened" about a film that won't be released until next year in a lot of territories. I'm prepared to sacrifice my dignity and call you "Lads" if this will get the work done.

― Andrew Farrell, Tuesday, November 28, 2017 7:09 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Backing Farrell 💯 on this one...lads

― m8, capitalism, m8 (darraghmac), Tuesday, November 28, 2017 7:10 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I read this thread backwards and thought you was talking about Colin

― Centrist Pred (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, November 28, 2017 8:32 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

gimme the beet poison, free my soul (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 15:45 (one year ago) link

This looked pretty good and my wife and I bought tickets to it. Then we had finished dinner with more than an hour before the movie, and I just couldn't bring myself to stay up for a serious Frances McDormand film and we went home.

IF (Terrorist) Yes, Explain (man alive), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 15:53 (one year ago) link

Great movie

flappy bird, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 17:31 (one year ago) link

Gene Demby has been going off on this movie on Twitter and it makes me not want to see it.

horseshoe, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 17:36 (one year ago) link

a representative thread:

We literally see this cop beat someone to within an inch of his life; the fact that the he is revealed as “sad” is “moral complexity”? This is part of a broader problem: the way our culture values the interiorality of racists more than the actual destruction they’ve wrought. https://t.co/pD8XWIEpNG

— Gene Demby (@GeeDee215) November 25, 2017

horseshoe, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 17:38 (one year ago) link

also he calls it the new Crash, so...*shots*

horseshoe, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 17:39 (one year ago) link

good thread, thanks. it's very reassuring to learn today that this isn't just me feeling this - it seemed like the response was overwhelmingly positive. i do note that on rottentomatoes at least the "top critics" thumbnails seem to pretty much be white people which may also play a role here?

gimme the beet poison, free my soul (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 17:51 (one year ago) link

The Carter Burwell soundtrack completely ruins this movie for me.

Like the dialogue and plot plays like a good grindhousey revenge romp for the #woke era, full of snappy sitcommy dialogue – almost like a more grounded Django Unchained or a less ambitious Hell or High Water.

But Burwell is playing it for all this drippy sentimental pathos and people are reading it like some serious movie

mag gerwig! (Whiney G. Weingarten), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 17:57 (one year ago) link

Yeah, this movie's backlash is in full force. And I for one welcome it. Maitland McDonough is not a good filmmaker.

Fred Klinkenberg (Eric H.), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 17:58 (one year ago) link

As someone else said, this is him doing Mystic River. I think that's harsh, but not terribly far off the mark.

Fred Klinkenberg (Eric H.), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 17:59 (one year ago) link

To its credit, McDormand inhabits a really compelling caricature -- in this climate of non-stop blah movie villains, it would be easy to ignore the ineptness/laziness of the rest of the movie.

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 18:13 (one year ago) link

the trailer made this look like total dogshit.

-_- (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 18:15 (one year ago) link

She would have made for a better adversary in Thor: ragnarok.
Would have liked to have seen three billboards on bifrost outside Asgard

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 18:16 (one year ago) link

Pinkerton's skeptical take: https://www.filmcomment.com/article/three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-review/

... like his previous films could most succinctly be described with the vague appellation “black comedy,” being as it is a movie set in the aftermath of an act of ghastly violence that goes for big yuks by way of rapid-fire profane zingers and broad comedy. (Preparing to play a gormless hick deputy, Sam Rockwell seems to have devoured all 23 seasons of Hee Haw.)

Fred Klinkenberg (Eric H.), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 18:21 (one year ago) link

Despite my earlier post, I liked this movie. It was engrossing the whole way. But there were definitely some hokey and/or bothersome aspects, some less benign than others.

JRN, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 18:49 (one year ago) link

McDormand's as good as promised but this left a really sour taste in my mouth. Hated Sam Rockwell, hated his character, hated (vague spoiler) how lazily and quickly the script "redeemed" him. Yuck.

Evan R, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 18:50 (one year ago) link

Also the comic relief was really broad and tone def. Every time the 19-year-old girlfriend came on screen and said something silly during a tense scene I cringed

Evan R, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 18:50 (one year ago) link

Yeah she seemed like she came from a completely different movie.

gimme the beet poison, free my soul (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 18:59 (one year ago) link

This is the time of year when Oscar Talk is most irresponsible. Like, why does Sam Rockwell "have Oscar buzz" when no one until a few days ago has seen the fucking thing? I know it happens every year, but I'm older.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 19:04 (one year ago) link

No one? It was at Venice and TIFF and NYFF, no?

Fred Klinkenberg (Eric H.), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 19:12 (one year ago) link

Tho, yes, Sam Rockwell doesn't do anything here that he didn't already do before and better when the AMPAS repeatedly didn't know him from Adam.

Fred Klinkenberg (Eric H.), Tuesday, 28 November 2017 19:13 (one year ago) link

How would you fix this movie, casting, character, plot-wise?

Philip Nunez, Tuesday, 28 November 2017 19:23 (one year ago) link

I would get rid of all the cheap theatrics designed to get a rise out of the audience. She drills a hole in the dentist's thumb, really? Excellent cast and performances, though, and I was relieved by the ending.

Jazzbo, Thursday, 30 November 2017 19:13 (one year ago) link

McDormand’s oh-so-clever retort to the clergyman also reminded me of why I hated “Good Will Hunting" so much.

Jazzbo, Thursday, 30 November 2017 19:26 (one year ago) link

I would have the film either deal with the racial politics it was explicitly bringing up, or not be made. Wheeling the black supporting characters in and out of the movie at its convenience, while every white schmuck gets a whole backstory and home life, was sort of the worst possible way of doing this even before you add things like the coworker getting arrested with her entire ordeal kept offscreen. Such bad choices.

'cause there's always been an it i can't truss (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 30 November 2017 20:22 (one year ago) link

do you think the filmmaker could have done it in a non-hamfisted way?

Philip Nunez, Friday, 1 December 2017 18:01 (one year ago) link

Being hamfisted is basically what keeps the movie from being more ethically objectionable, I guess.

Fred Klinkenberg (Eric H.), Friday, 1 December 2017 18:02 (one year ago) link

"how would you fix this film?"
"i would have it not be bad"
"do you think the filmmaker is capable of making a film that is not bad?"

'cause there's always been an it i can't truss (Doctor Casino), Friday, 1 December 2017 18:14 (one year ago) link

Exactly. I would not fix this film.

Fred Klinkenberg (Eric H.), Friday, 1 December 2017 18:15 (one year ago) link

I'll just not particularly like it, thanks.

Fred Klinkenberg (Eric H.), Friday, 1 December 2017 18:15 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

The way it plays chicken shit with vigilantism at the end is grotesque.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 17 December 2017 18:19 (one year ago) link

meh

mag gerwig! (Whiney G. Weingarten), Sunday, 17 December 2017 18:39 (one year ago) link

You're right about the score. Also wtf at the on-the-nose-ness of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," ho ho.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 17 December 2017 18:40 (one year ago) link

How would you fix this movie, casting, character, plot-wise?

― Philip Nunez,

Throw a Molotov cocktail at it.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 17 December 2017 18:42 (one year ago) link

I would rescore the whole movie with the Bug vs. Earth album

mag gerwig! (Whiney G. Weingarten), Sunday, 17 December 2017 18:43 (one year ago) link

Haven't seen yet

Don't think anyone should watch mcdonagh to see wider societal complexities dealt with to their satisfaction

I definitely prefer McDonagh writing about Ireland than the U.S.

― ... (Eazy), Tuesday, November 28, 2017 12:50 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Now I'm only asking but how well do u know ireland

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Sunday, 17 December 2017 23:58 (one year ago) link

I've been wondering why a movie that has been getting so many raves sounds as gross as this one does, but then I finally realized that it was by the asshole who made In Bruges.

iCloudius (cryptosicko), Monday, 18 December 2017 00:02 (one year ago) link

this movie is a heap of condescending trash

Hadrian VIII, Saturday, 23 December 2017 19:51 (one year ago) link

the negative reaction this movie is inspiring is making me want to see it

k3vin k., Saturday, 23 December 2017 19:55 (one year ago) link

I guess there are worse ways to slum

Hadrian VIII, Saturday, 23 December 2017 20:03 (one year ago) link

this movie is so bad in every way it's utterly mystifying to me that anybody thinks it's good. it's not just that it's morally shitty or w/e. it is bad in every way a movie can be bad, except that it's got a bunch of good actors doing their best to make a terrible movie good

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Saturday, 23 December 2017 20:05 (one year ago) link

yeah I will admit that without this particular cast I would not be saying that

k3vin k., Saturday, 23 December 2017 20:11 (one year ago) link

This movie does subvert the CSI paradigm of modern forensic science and/or a fortuitously overheard confession bringing a criminal to justice (see the term "competence porn"). Plus I liked seeing McDormand's character stand up to authority figures who evidently expect women and minorities to gloss over crimes against them in the name of the social order. But that doesn't mean that this movie is any good.

I, Fanbrat (j.lu), Saturday, 23 December 2017 23:53 (one year ago) link

This guy has always sucked. His Irish plays were fucking terrible.

Well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Wednesday, 27 December 2017 15:46 (one year ago) link

my lowlight of choice was the two black supporting characters hooking up on sight for no real reason

micah, Monday, 1 January 2018 10:35 (one year ago) link

the only thing worse than McDonagh is his brother

a terrible bunch of lads

Number None, Monday, 1 January 2018 15:40 (one year ago) link

There was a good story in here somewhere I think but this was really lazily written and undeserving of the critical plaudits. What with this and Seven Psychopaths (which was worse, to be fair), seems like In Bruges may have been a fluke.

chap, Sunday, 7 January 2018 12:48 (one year ago) link

the only thing worse than McDonagh is his brother

a terrible bunch of lads


This is otm although I've given up remembering which useless fuck is which (have not seen this new because of surname of director obv & looking at general tenor of thread I never will)

very stabbable gaius (wins), Sunday, 7 January 2018 12:52 (one year ago) link

*this new film

very stabbable gaius (wins), Sunday, 7 January 2018 12:52 (one year ago) link

quite funny how ben wheatley's tossed-off curio 'free fire' was basically a better mcdonagh movie

#TeamHailing (imago), Sunday, 7 January 2018 12:57 (one year ago) link

possibly confused between his arse and his elbow

Number None, Saturday, 3 February 2018 19:52 (one year ago) link

"Awful. McDonagh is an appallingly stupid self-satisfied fraud."

fucking nail on't head here. In a recent R4 interview there was an overwhelming sense of an overindulged minnow with no humility, no talent, completely incurious + self-satisfied. An absolute twat.

calzino, Sunday, 4 February 2018 00:18 (one year ago) link

strong possibility he had missouri mixed up with montana.

hadn't considered this but fuckin otm

she carries a torch. two torches, actually (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Sunday, 4 February 2018 00:31 (one year ago) link

He will p much get to the stage where the casting is such lazy on the noseness that you will merely be introduced to the actors in the correct order and the plot can be inferred.

Alderweireld Horses (darraghmac), Sunday, 4 February 2018 00:49 (one year ago) link

hi!

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 4 February 2018 01:08 (one year ago) link

Um, I liked this film...

banjoboy, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 09:14 (one year ago) link

Ur name

Alderweireld Horses (darraghmac), Wednesday, 7 February 2018 09:37 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

what an incoherent mess

piper at the gates of d'awwww (voodoo chili), Monday, 26 February 2018 05:23 (one year ago) link

I cannot even stay awake reading the title of this movie

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Monday, 26 February 2018 05:33 (one year ago) link

I literally don't know where the billboards are, because I fall asleep before I get to their location every time.

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Monday, 26 February 2018 05:35 (one year ago) link

theres swear words on em

flappy bird, Monday, 26 February 2018 05:40 (one year ago) link

I like some of the satirical stuff in it (how everyone is out for revenge, mainly) and the honesty about every white person in middle american towns being racist. but oof at everything else.

adam the (abanana), Monday, 26 February 2018 15:17 (one year ago) link

i finally watched this last night.

my expert analysis is that i couldn't stop thinking about how none of the characters seemed like they were from missouri. which wouldn't necessarily be a problem except that it seemed like the supposed authenticity of the performances is part of the film's appeal. rockwell's character in particular was really dumb in every sense of the word (although his mother was maybe the only one who pulled off the missouri-vibe). they did a good job with the goddamn cussing, though.

i remember the corned beef of my childhood (Karl Malone), Thursday, 1 March 2018 01:24 (one year ago) link

I wonder if McDonagh intended it as a spot of deliciously witty wordplay - "ebbing misery."

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 1 March 2018 15:37 (one year ago) link

Original title included "Idaho."

"Minneapolis" (barf) (Eric H.), Thursday, 1 March 2018 15:42 (one year ago) link

Ooo

I'll reserve broader thoughts for now, but note that I suspended my usual interest in realism and geographical specificity for a film about a clearly fictional place in the (imagined) sociological middle of the country. I don't think any 'authenticity' was intended even in that sense with characters who at least begin as (intentional?) caricatures.

Moo Vaughn, Thursday, 1 March 2018 15:45 (one year ago) link

No if you take it as a piece of McDonagh ouevre it's merely in keeping with his cultural tourism ignorance

Finn T Buoty (darraghmac), Thursday, 1 March 2018 15:47 (one year ago) link

is the dialogue good? is McDormand good? that's all i care about tbh

No. She's fine. What else?

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 1 March 2018 15:57 (one year ago) link

i'll pass then. what's up with the dialogue?

Dialogue is very good McDormand is excellent when let and tbh the cast in general make a pleasing job of what they're given

things you looked shockingly old when you wore (darraghmac), Thursday, 1 March 2018 16:47 (one year ago) link

I wonder if McDonagh intended it as a spot of deliciously witty wordplay - "ebbing misery."

― Doctor Casino, Thursday, March 1, 2018 10:37 AM (five hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

livin it up at the joketell missouri

Whiney G. Weingarten, Thursday, 1 March 2018 21:16 (one year ago) link

walked the fuck out, fight me

rip van wanko, Friday, 2 March 2018 03:43 (one year ago) link

sending Sam Rockwell to kick your ass brb

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 2 March 2018 03:52 (one year ago) link

Which part did you walk out on?

i remember the corned beef of my childhood (Karl Malone), Friday, 2 March 2018 03:55 (one year ago) link

^ u&k

just noticed tears shaped like florida. (sic), Friday, 2 March 2018 05:08 (one year ago) link

Reaction to this movie is insane IDKWTF everyone is so worked up about

flappy bird, Friday, 2 March 2018 05:27 (one year ago) link

Disbelief at critical adulation of a hamfisted film that was about as nuanced as batman.

lana del boy (ledge), Friday, 2 March 2018 09:11 (one year ago) link

from the director of Seven Psychopaths, no less

without wanting to spoil the movie for me in case i want to see it, i have this feeling that lots of critics, professional and otherwise, are carrying on under the mistaken impression that McDonagh's work has at any point been a species of social realism

I did not like the graphic design of the billboards.

milquetoast malone (King Boy Pato), Friday, 2 March 2018 10:54 (one year ago) link

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-feel-good-fallacies-of-three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri

It's almost like this isn't a movie substantially about the ethics of vigilantism (in the context of police abuse) directed by a left-leaning anarchist (who grew up amidst IRA bombings) and starring at least one other (the estranged son of a contract killer).

Moo Vaughn, Friday, 2 March 2018 20:26 (one year ago) link

Disbelief at critical adulation of a hamfisted film that was about as nuanced as batman.

― lana del boy (ledge), Friday, March 2, 2018 9:11 AM (eleven hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I don't entirely disagree with the characterization but not sure it's inapplicable to the criticisms, nor am I familiar with adulation from anyone particularly respectable.

Moo Vaughn, Friday, 2 March 2018 20:28 (one year ago) link

XP those are not inputs that make it any less pigshit stupid

things you looked shockingly old when you wore (darraghmac), Friday, 2 March 2018 20:54 (one year ago) link

I really think it's devolved into an argument about whether 3 Billboards is politically/ethically good or politically/ethically bad (or in internet terms EVERYTHING or TRASH) -- all of which has basically supplanted and overshadowed any potential conversation about whether it's actually a good movie or not. And discussing politically/ethically good vs politically/ethically bad — something that had heretofore been the concern of academia — has increasingly become the metric in which people decide whether a movie is good or bad in general.

Its two completely different and two completely valid modes of critical thought competing for their place in the conversation, which means like six camps of thought competing in a space where there's only two results

good filmmaking/good ethics = good movie
good filmmaking/bad ethics = good movie
good filmmaking/bad ethics = bad movie
bad filmmaking/good ethics = good movie
bad filmmaking/good ethics = bad move
bad filmmaking/bad ethics = bad movie

I don't think anyone is arguing for the other two

Whiney G. Weingarten, Friday, 2 March 2018 22:00 (one year ago) link

I might poll those

Whiney G. Weingarten, Friday, 2 March 2018 22:01 (one year ago) link

i guess for me it's not super important whether it's a good movie or whether it was created using good filmmaking. i resent the decision by the filmmaker to make the film the way he made it; it seems like an asshole decision on his part.

Doctor Casino, Friday, 2 March 2018 22:03 (one year ago) link

Vote Now, Doctor Casino!

POLL 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Is...

Whiney G. Weingarten, Friday, 2 March 2018 22:09 (one year ago) link

I'm firmly in the camp of you can make a good racist vigilante movie

McDonagh hasn't, not because of ethics but because it's a cartoon that thinks it's ~~~~~~deep~~~~~

It wouldn't hold an episode of murder she wrote together

things you looked shockingly old when you wore (darraghmac), Friday, 2 March 2018 22:10 (one year ago) link

I'm firmly in the camp of you can make a good racist vigilante movie

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a6/0f/74/a60f74a89ee115e505e77ea4b50d8c6e.jpg

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 2 March 2018 22:15 (one year ago) link

I meant black panther tbh

things you looked shockingly old when you wore (darraghmac), Friday, 2 March 2018 22:16 (one year ago) link

i kid I kid

things you looked shockingly old when you wore (darraghmac), Friday, 2 March 2018 22:16 (one year ago) link

the poll doesn't include my take as an option though :-/

Doctor Casino, Friday, 2 March 2018 22:44 (one year ago) link

I wonder if McDonagh intended it as a spot of deliciously witty wordplay - "ebbing misery."

― Doctor Casino

it's very clever if one has no idea how "missouri" is pronounced - so probably!

ziggy the ginhead (rushomancy), Monday, 12 March 2018 14:14 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

Dialogue is very good McDormand is excellent when let and tbh the cast in general make a pleasing job of what they're given

Watched this a while back. Didn't strike me as awful, pigshit stupid or morally repugnant, but nor did I particularly care for it. I agree with darraghmac's summary of its better qualities. Frances McDormand is riveting as Mildred, with strong support from Harrelson and Rockwell. Though the characters are simplistic or incoherent (or both), the dialogue is sharp throughout, and the story keeps mutating in unexpected directions. The cinematography is quite nice, too. I was engaged and more-or-less "entertained" throughout.

But it all felt so empty and pointless once the credits rolled. I think this reflects not just the total lack of grounding in recognizable human experience (remarked on above), but also the barrage of ultimately meaningless provocation. The similarly transgressive In Bruge works, I think, because it seems so perfectly content with ghoulishly clever black comedy as an end in itself. Here, McDonagh crudely flirty with hot-button social issues about which he has nothing to say, and he ramps up the horror for both cheap emotional effect and cheap shock value.

Worse, he doesn't even have the guts to follow his "provocative" ideas to their obvious conclusions. The violently racist (yet soulful!) moron flips out and assaults a white guy. Mildred's terrorism is spared a body count. It's like a defanged, shaggily aimless version of Dogville, the empty spaces stuffed with details cribbed from Fargo.

not quite as cool as seeing damo's wang but (contenderizer), Saturday, 31 March 2018 03:24 (one year ago) link

Strongly disagree with the conclusion that Rockwell is in any way compelling. He plays an imbecile sadist in an obvious way.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 31 March 2018 03:29 (one year ago) link

good analysis tbh

flappy bird, Saturday, 31 March 2018 04:52 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

The best thing i can say about this slop is that it used a good Townes van Zandt song i don't think i knew.

MM constantly in "Aren't I so clever?" mode; well, no.

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Friday, 20 April 2018 11:50 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Sandy Martin, as Dixon's mother, gives the best performance in this. It's a shame she wasn't given more to do.

Britain's Sexiest Cow (jed_), Monday, 13 August 2018 11:11 (one year ago) link

did not like this, but the "holding ladders" line destroyed me

for i, sock in enumerate (Sufjan Grafton), Monday, 13 August 2018 14:34 (one year ago) link


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