There is no way around it, Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri is dark.
And it certainly isn’t your average murder mystery.
The film centres around Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand, Fargo) whose daughter is raped, murdered and burned alive not far from the family home.
After several months with no leads, Mildred rents three billboards on the edge of town to question the ability of local sheriff William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson, True Detective).
The billboards set about a chain of violent events which disturb the sleepy southern town.
The black comedy is written, directed and produced by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) and has all of the Brit’s trademark wit, story-telling and swear-filled dialogue.
The movie picked up four well-deserved Golden Globes this year for Best Actress in a Drama Motion Picture, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Motion Picture, Best Screenplay of a Motion Picture and Best Drama Motion Picture.
Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths) truly shines as the unruly, incorrigible and racist police officer Dixon.
Dixon becomes enraged by the billboards and takes it upon himself to try and get under Mildred’s skin by arresting her friends and throwing one of her associates out a window.
But even his most valiant efforts fly back in his face.
Sheriff Willoughby pleads with Mildred to remove the signs as he believes he has exhausted all efforts to solve the case.
Mildred refuses but Willoughby seems to admire her all the more for it.
The billboards also cause problems for Mildred at home.
Her son begins to resent her and experiences bullying at school and her violent ex-husband Charlie steps back into the picture along with his 19-year-old girlfriend played by Australian actress, Samara Weaving (The Babysitter).
Fellow Aussie Abbie Cornish (Candy) also makes an appearance as Sheriff Willoughby’s wife, although her accent leaves a lot to be desired.
At times audiences are unsure if she is meant to be Australian or have the trademark southern accent sported by the rest of the cast.
Game of Thrones fans will enjoy a brief appearance by Peter Dinklage, donning a mustache no less.
This movie is not for the faint of heart, it features frank discussions about rape, bloody bar brawls and domestic violence.
However it also has a lot of heart and is uplifting in it’s own macabre way.