Eppler: "Three Billboards" one of the year's most enjoyable movi

Eppler: "Three Billboards" one of the year's most enjoyable movies

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" is a brutal, funny and angry little movie. It strikes a difficult balance in being alternately dark and delightful - a pitch black comedy with people doing and saying some truly awful things to each other that might make you choke on your laughs. But these complicated characters have a familiar warmth that's endearing.

Frances McDormand stars as Mildred, a grieving mother whose daughter was raped and killed months ago. It's one of her most powerful performances, which is really saying something considering her career.

With no one arrested, she buys three billboards calling out the police chief, played by a wonderful Woody Harrelson. Being such a small town, everyone knows about the billboards and everyone has an opinion. The police department also has the chief's back - including Sam Rockwell as a racist, drunken mama's boy looking to pressure Mildred.

The ensemble cast is dynamite with McDormand and Rockwell bound for Oscar nominations. They've all been given deep, rich and nuanced characters by writer and director Martin McDonaugh. Although he's a British and Irish writer, he has crafted a movie that feels uniquely American - from the setting to the tone, the music and cut-throat dialogue. 

There are some plot coincidences and conveniences in the final quarter that keep this from being perfect, but it's still one of the year's most enjoyable movies. 

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