Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

What is the definition of violence and anger of people? Three billboards illustrate a new understanding.

This is a black humor film that is full of dramatic tensions, and also a tragedy under the disguise of a seemingly affectionate theme.

After her daughter was raped and burned to death, Mildred still has not found the murderer. When passing by the desolate path, she happened to see the three outdoor and decided to buy the three billboards for advertising.

Three Billboards. “Raped while dying.” “And still no arrests?” “How come, chief Willoughby?”

Mildred set up three billboards by the road with the aim of interrogating and challenging the police chief. After that, this incident became completely out of control.  

Martin McDonagh, the director, succeeded in merging a series of metaphors and thoughts into this black humor film that even has a hint of absurdness, which further makes the film more entertaining and thought-provoking.

Three Billboards has won many international awards, which is almost undisputed among the audience and professional film reviewers.The actress Frances Louise McDormand, who has made considerable contributions to the success of this film, won the Oscar Best Actress.

The beginning of the film, Mildred walks into the rental office that stands opposite to the police station in the town. At this time, the lens captures the cover of the book by design: A Good Man Is Hard to Find.

The Advertiser Red Welby saw The Book “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”.

The story takes place in Ebbing, Missouri, that is a fictional place. Ebb can be literally translated as a decline, which implies that the town is declining. It is also a town where the good man is hard to find.

Flannery O’Connor, a female original author of the book A Good Man Is Hard to Find. The violent and absurd plots in her book are surprisingly similar to the black humor in this film.

The film has an exquisite display of the overall rhythm and displays extraordinary performance in post-production and video-editing. As a whole, the post-processing of this film is even better than Martin McDonagh’s perfect construction of the “textual space” behind the film’s sounds and pictures.

The audience’s attention can be immediately caught by the choice of background music, which reflects an elegant taste and a sense of nostalgia. The Last Rose of Summer echoes with the theme of this film. In particular, the phrase in the lyrics is exactly the tragic experience that Mildred brings to the audience.

The most important lines of the film.

Anger begets greater anger

Mildred, who set up the three billboards, is actually a doughty and fierce woman. She burns down the whole police station simply because she was suspicious that the billboards have been destroyed by the police. 

Although Willoughby, the police chief, is foul-mouthed. He is actually a well-respected person, and also a responsible, caring and family-oriented man.

By contrast, Dixon is a police officer with a bad reputation. In addition, he shows serious homophobia, racial discrimination and violent behaviors in the process of law enforcement, such as abusing the black detainees. 

The life of the three leading characters is completely changed owing to a series of events that occurred after the billboards have been erected. Similar to the snowballing effect, it seems impossible to prevent the development of those events.

Basically, it is probably because that Mildred believes that she is partially responsible for her daughter’s death. The last sentence she said to her daughter was a squawk when they are quarreling with each other. “I hope you get raped on the way too.” Mildred loves his daughter deeply, but she does not know how to express her love in their daily life.

Therefore, the police just did what they could do. However, Mildred could not accept it. She concentrated all her anger on those incompetent police officers in the town and erected three billboards by the road.


“Violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace.”

The turning point of the event is also a violent incident, the suicide committed by Sheriff Willoughby.

The sheriff left three suicide notes for his wife, Mildred and Dixon, respectively. With his last words, Martin explained that the best solution to the problem is, LOVE. 

Dixon’s revelation comes from Willoughby’s suicide notes. Dixon rescued the files of Angela from that fire. When Dixon firmly believe that he has found the suspect and tried to get DNA for verification, he endured endless punching and kicking.

Dixon face burned and looked at Mildred.

Dixon and Mildred, two ordinary citizens, embark on a revenge journey, and their revenge target is nothing but one possible suspected rapist.

Although this open ending is not like an end of this story, it reflects the warmth underneath Martin’s pessimism.The end of this revenge journey remains uncertain: perhaps the world can be saved. However, the journey has not started yet.

In the final scene, the three billboards standing on one side of a desolated road come into view. When The Last Rose of Summer begins, all the past anger, hatred and personal grievances will be left behind, and the epiphany of the soul will pull the characters back to their “right tracks”.

Three billboards standing in the last scene.


Degree of recommendation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐