Showing posts with label Sam Rockwell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sam Rockwell. Show all posts

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

It is quite rare, in this day and age, that I get to see a movie with an original story line that is so well written and directed, that I find myself truly forgetting that I am sitting in a movie theater. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is exactly the type of cinematic experience I recommend every movie lover and story lover enjoy.

This movie will drag you out of your seat and make you to empathize with people who are completely unlikable, laugh at things that are tragic, and make you want to hope where there is hopelessness.

Frances McDormand gives a remarkable performance of a grieving mother who cannot reconcile the past without justice. Unable to find peace, she approaches the problem just like she has approached everything else in her life - through confrontation. Her son, ex-husband, the chief of police, and an admirer; all bear the brunt of her abrasive and determined crusade to get a measure of revenge.

Woody Harrelson plays the Chief of local Police. A career lawman who has done well for himself, he is terminally ill, which is apparently the town's worst kept secret. He brings to the story the thematically relevant issue of racism among some police officers, where he shelters a deputy accused of wrongdoing. Butt he is a man of law, giving Frances McDormand's character all the latitude she is legally entitled to, despite her attack that is aimed at him.

Sam Rockwell plays the deputy who is rough around the edges. He is a brute force individual, who has been accused of racism in the past. He attempts to uphold the law and protect his boss, the chief of police at every step; even when it means pushing the envelope of what is legally allowed. He is a foul mouthed, disorganized, and nasty individual that doesn't evoke anyone's sympathy in the beginning. Yet he is key to the unfolding of the story's final chapter.

The theme of the story centers on justice and a measure of revenge. Whether it is revenge for a lost daughter, a fallen co-worker, or any other wrongdoing that a person has been subjected to; the exposure to hatred and anger are key. Throughout the entire movie, the carefully woven undertones show that if you hold on to the hatred and anger, you ultimately become the instrument of injustice - the very opposite of your initial intent.

Judging by the reaction of the theater's audience, it is my understanding that a lot of people didn't get the ending. The problem is that we, the audience, have been often exposed to movies that process everything for us right down the final meaning. It is far rarer to experience a move that leads you down the path to the finale, where all parts are aligned, and leave the finale up to the viewer's interpretation.

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SPOILERS BEYOND THIS LINE
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My interpretation of the ending is that it doesn't particularly matter whether the suspect is guilty of this particular crime or another crime. It doesn't matter whether the suspect dies or not. What matters is that Sam Rockwell's character finally found his ability to be a detective, guided by a letter from his late chief. What matters is that Frances McDormand's character knows she is not alone and that she finally has hope due to the work of a dedicated police officer. Here is what we know before the screen fades to black:

1) Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell know that the man they are chasing is not the man responsible for the death and rape of Frances McDormand's daughter.

2) They have reconciled themselves that the man they are chasing is evil because he has committed a crime.

3) They have not finalized the decision to kill the suspect. They agree to see how things play out, to determine if he will pay for his crime with his life.

The moral of the story is that the aspect of anger and vengeance that both of these characters live with is a destructive force. It made them both chase down a man who is not responsible for the specific crime at the center of the story. Just because the man must be "guilty of something", forces both main characters to come to the brink of becoming the Judge, the Jury, and the Executioner.

The only plausible poetic unwinding version of this story leads me to believe that the execution will not occur. Whether it is Rockwell's character realizing that it is wrong to take a man's life for another crime, or McDormand's character understanding that killing a man for a different crime will not bring back her daughter; the leading towards this path ultimately is foreshadowed by the doubt in their dialogue as the screen fades to black.

A highly enjoyable cinematic experience. Highly recommended.

I give it 5 out of 5 gummy bears!!!

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