Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ★★½

People are reacting to this as if the devil himself had penned some cogent manifesto against all that is good and welcome in the world. For the most part, though, it's fine. I don't care for a lot of McDonagh's choices, nor for much of his humour as a writer, but it's a class above Seven Psychopaths (small mercies, I know) and attempts something resembling Dramatic Complexity, where the gags feel part of a lived-in localism rather than deflationary and distancing.

There's also this critical position forming around the film that is predicated on a racist cop's redemptive arc (which is presumably unbelievable to viewers and/or as insulting as the same character's previous racism); I found it to be an interesting storytelling choice in itself, before I even get to thinking about why it's interesting. As a colleague said on Twitter, though: "[spoiler] film ends with two characters driving off together maybe (the maybe is explicit) intent on committing murder. How this gets translated into 'redemption' is beyond me."

One might argue things only happen here so that other things can happen—that the writing is strategic and opportunistic—but then I would say that it's no more these things than, say, the writing in Moonlight was. I don't know; I feel like if it had Kenneth Lonergan's name attached to it there wouldn't be as much of a community-endorsed backlash happening as there is. Ah well.