Cert: TBC Runtime: 115 mins Director: Martin McDonagh Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage and Abbie Cornish
Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is LFF’s closing gala film. With a stellar debut with In Bruges and a decent follow up with Seven Psychopaths. McDonagh seems to be evolving to a new kind of genre. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri seems a lot grittier than any of his other works. What is it all about you ask? It’s been seven months since her daughter was murdered and foul-mouthed, tough-as-nails Mildred Hayes (McDormand) is fed up. Fuelled by grief and outraged that the investigation has gone quiet, she provokes the local police department with a series of messages plastered on three disused billboards outside her home town of Ebbing, Missouri. So begins a rapidly escalating and very public feud between Mildred and venerated community leader and family man, Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). The situation is exacerbated when blundering side-kick, Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell) gets involved. Just as unhinged as Mildred, but with a significantly lower IQ, Dixon’s penchant for violence is stoked by his leaden, borderline psychotic mother to whom he is unhealthily attached.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is probably the most un-predictable film I have watched in a long time. Martin McDonagh has made one of the finest dark comedies of our time. It may be his finest work too! McDonagh knows how to balance comedy with drama. One second you are crying with laughter the next you feel hollow and dead inside. McDonagh uses the 10 stages of grief so elegantly, the town’s anger grows towards Midred but as time goes by the characters evolve and find peace within themselves. McDonagh balances it so well in his screenplay and within the film itself. As for the actual visual look to Three Billboards, it has a very natural look to go with the aesthetic of the setting. But the heavy tint in the reds really show the issues that are within Ebbing.
McDonagh’s screenplay comes alive with a great ensemble cast. When you have multiple actors of such high calibre you wouldn’t expect any less. Frances McDormand gives one of her finest performances in many years. Mildred is as good as Marge Gundarson in Fargo. She is an utter bad ass and her search for justice is admirable. You can feel her pain, and her un-predictability make her a memorable character. Sam Rockwell provides another great performance for McDonagh. One of our finest character actors goes another level here. His journey is one of the stand out parts of Three Billboards. We would hope a supporting actor campaign will happen for Mr.Rockwell. Woody Harrelson, Caleb Landry Jones, Peter Dinklage, Abbie Cornish all provide stellar performances. As mentioned McDonagh’s screenplay would be nothing without his actors. Three Billboards, Outside Ebbing Missouri is a worthy closing gala film at LFF this year. It’s what the cinematic experience is all about laughter, soul searching and heart. A very special piece of cinema indeed.
Cert: 12A Runtime: 108 mins Director: José Padilha Cast: Joe Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley and Samuel L.Jackson
The human element will always be present! Compassion, fear, instinct, they will always interfere with the system!
The day that I dreaded the most for a while arrived, I went to see the new RoboCop. For me growing up in the early nineties I loved this guy the two movies and an animated series. Now Hollywood decided to re-boot another behemoth of a long gone era. What really dragged me to see this was my better halfs love of action movies and Gary Oldman. So what is RoboCop? the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years – and it’s meant billions for OmniCorp’s bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine pursuing justice.
Apart from storytelling, the acting is overall solid. Samuel L. Jackson as the TV show host is much more lively than he was in the superhero movies of recent years. He sure makes a great host who is entertaining and engaging. Michael Keaton as the head of the corporation performed well although I was not convinced with the way his character turned out in the end of the film. Joel Kinnaman as RoboCop is pretty bland although he makes a convincing family man. His wife played by Abbie Cornish did a good job as the caring wife and mother. Jakie Earle Haley is the antagonistic and easy-to-hate Rick Mattox and he fits in well in the film Nothing special from Haley though.The standout performance belongs to Gary Oldman as Dr. Norton. Oldman is very lively in his role and thanks to him, Dr. Norton is a more engaging character to watch than RoboCop himself.
Really, Oldman stole the spotlight many times in the film and almost feels like a protagonist. Action? There are several action scenes indeed but if you are expecting a spectacular action sequence or set piece, you will be disappointed. With the action it has, RoboCop is still satisfying to watch as there are a lot of gun battles, some explosions, some special effects combined with stunts, etc. I should mention that RoboCop in this film is faster and more agile too. Conclusion RoboCop of 2014 obviously will not win any major awards nor will it ever displace the 1987 RoboCop from its place in cinematic history but it is good enough on its own. Think of RoboCop 2014 as a less reflective but action-packed and modernized take on the RoboCop concept. I came into the theater with modest expectations and I left more amused than expected. I should say however that the story fell apart somewhat during the last thirty minutes as there were some scenes or happenings that were not believable.