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By Megan Bianco
London-based filmmaker Martin McDonagh has only made three major feature films, but he already has grown a pretty big following with movie fans. His first feature, In Bruges (2008) is a cult classic set in his home continent of Europe. But his next two movies, Seven Psychopaths (2012) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri—now in theaters—are based in the U.S. and are about American culture. What’s even more impressive is how natural he is out of his homeland.
In Ebbing, Missouri, Mildred Haze (Frances McDormand) is divorced and a mother of a recently deceased daughter, Angela. While driving home, she spontaneously comes up with the idea to buy out three billboards on the road outside her neighborhood to guilt-trip the police department for never finding Angela’s murderer. Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) claims he’s done all he can and has to focus on beating cancer, while Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell) is more interested in harassing petty criminals and delinquents.
John Hawkes, Abbie Cornish and Lucas Hedges co-star. Like with McDonagh’s previous two films, Three Billboards has a very talented and impressive cast, with McDormand reminding us that she is one of her generation’s best. Harrelson and Rockwell do well with their characters, and Hedges is at the top of his game in young Hollywood. McDonagh’s screenplay is a breath of fresh air in our current social environment and has his trademark wit and goofy comic relief. For those looking for a grown-up movie this Thanksgiving weekend, this is it.