Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was okay. I’ve kind of soured on Martin McDonagh. I still like In Bruges but it’s marred by all the rapid-fire “edgy” casual racism from nearly every character. The Guard, directed and written by his brother, has the same problem (when I watched that movie recently I was wondering why Don Cheadle didn’t just punch Brendan Gleeson’s character after the third or fourth wise-ass remark). Both brothers seem a little out of touch and full of themselves, although I do really love Calvary.
Three Billboards is better than Seven Psychopaths, which was a trainwreck, but it’s not great. The dialogue is trying to be clever but usually feels labored, and the characterizations are too haphazard for any of the characters to feel particularly real, despite some strong acting from Frances McDormand, Lucas Hedges, Peter Dinklage, and especially Sam Rockwell. The movie does become a lot better about halfway through after an incident sends a town already in disarray into further disarray. The tone becomes more serious and the stakes get even higher. But overall this feels like a movie that’s trying really hard to be great and getting in the way of itself along the way. A little humility in the script would’ve served the characters and premise a lot better.