Smart Living

Trailer talk: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Martin McDonagh’s next movie looks set to pack a darkly comic punch

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

Judging from the trailer, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, looks like it’ll pose no shortage of interesting questions. How should our society deal with unsolved crimes? What’s the best way to draw attention to a perceived injustice? And is it ever morally justified to kick an adolescent boy in the goolies?

The latest dark comedy-drama by Academy Award Winner Martin McDonagh, Director of In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, tells the curious tale of a mother search of justice, following the unsolved rape and murder of her teenage daughter. It stars Frances McDormand as the aforementioned mother, Mildred Hayes, and Woody Harrelson as Sheriff Bill Willoughby. Events follow the fall-out of Hayes’s grief, as the unfortunate Sheriff becomes the subject of three local town billboards rented by Hayes that challenge the police’s lack of results.

It sounds heavy, but if dark humour’s your thing, it also looks to be gut-twistingly entertaining. The bad language (you’ve been warned) in the trailer alone makes for a dry scoff or two.

Of course, there are bound to be some aspects of the film that are more comfortable than others – but that’s why critics are calling it ‘a bold and show-boating affair’. The premise is tragic and McDormand’s bitter, world-weary Mildred looks to be every part the grieving mother. But, on the flip side of the coin (and this is film that seems very happy to flip the full 180 degrees), drill-related scuffles in the dentist’s chair and thoroughly inventive four-letter word slanging matches  lend its dark character much needed touches of light relief.

It might be a fictitious story, but Three Billboards is set to handle some tough issues intelligently and with flair. Whatever your take, this is one we’re looking forward to watching.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is released in UK cinemas on Friday 12 January 2018