Martin McDonagh has a penchant for bringing forth laughs at the most unexpected situations. His last movie, the 2012 dark comedy Seven Psychopaths was a surreal odyssey through the path of nonsense helmed by fine actors like Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell.
In this third feature, Martin McDonagh paints a grotesque picture juxtaposing a mother’s rage with apathy of the lawmakers. The movie begins with Mildred Hayes approaching an advertising agency and hiring three dilapidated billboards where she releases her rage over inaction against her daughter’s brutal death.
Frances McDormand plays the steely and determined Mildred whose quest for justice consumes her and takes her on the path of vengeance. Her single minded fixation on getting her daughter justice allows her to go to any lengths, making us question the real motives of her character. Does she want justice or revenge? Or both?
The main target for Mildred’s rage is local sheriff Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) who suffers from terminal cancer. Sam Rockwell hits the mark as Officer Dixon who happens to be an insensitive racist just in the police force to crack skulls. A question of morality looms large throughout the movie.
Another important aspect of the movie is that the movie allows us to make assumptions of the characters and then goes on to smash our assumptions to smithereens. This also holds true for the climax which eschews all our expectations. Maybe McDonagh aims to remind us of the irrationality of human behavior. The movie is one of those movies that will stand the test of time owing to its excellent screenplay and spectacular performances by the actors.