Hello to all y’all at The Barn from here in sunny St. Louis, where I am still basking in the aftermath of the Wrigley Field Massacre.
I love seemingly all the same things The Barn does; cinema, sport, and especially ‘Succession (how it has it gotten even better in Season 2 I’ll never fully grasp), and though I don’t remember how I was introduced to The Barn, I’ve enjoyed your work and podcasts especially for awhile now. I especially love ‘In the Can’ as a random cinephile who is extremely interested in the intricacies of movies without ever working in the industry.
I’ve found myself pretty much in lockstep with your movie reviews until this past Saturday morning, when I ventured back and gave your Three Billboards review a listen for the first time…
Let me start by quickly saying I think the movie has some definite strong points; the cast is obviously strong(more on this later), the cinematography very impressive, the dialogue strong(at times)and biting, and in my opinion a GREAT soundtrack (especially Monsters of Folk – His Masters Voice during the otherwise wildly flawed window scene). Now to the actual point…
There are three main flaws I’m going to try and (believe it or not) concisely explain, but I first wanted to touch on the hot button topic of this movie’s morality; I mainly agreed with your stance that racist characters don’t make a movie racist, and I had no issue with, and actually liked the movie’s message of change and forgiveness. My issue was I didn’t root for anyone in this film, and didn’t agree with Willoughby being the apparent moral compass (he seemingly was ok with Dixon’s reprehensible behavior).
Now to the three main flaws… the lack of realism in a movie that was supposed to be realistic, Rockwell’s acting, and the “ending”. I’m not one to nitpick this usually as it can ruin otherwise great movies, but the lack of reality in this movie was flat out striking. Dixon brutally assaulted a man and then threw him out of a window in front of countless witnesses and received minimal, if any, criminal punishment. The subsequent sharing of a hospital room by the two men was also tough to swallow. The Molotov cocktail scene was much of the same. In general, the movie was just too far removed from how real life would likely play out for my taste.
I’ve always been a big Sam Rockwell fan and that’s part of the reason I found it so ironic that he won an Oscar for the worst performance I’ve personally witnessed from him. To put it simply, he badly overacted. Most of the film, he was playing the role as if his character had a severe mental disability. If I didn’t know better, I may have thought he was attempting some sort of sketch comedy.
Finally, the whole ending/storyline with the possible rapist who was overseas with the armed forces during the crime made ZERO SENSE WHATSOEVER. If I have this right, the movie is trying to have me believe that this random gentleman drove across country to a random small town, cornered Mildred while threatening her and referencing the crime, went and had beers with a buddy, openly discussing raping and burning a young woman, yet it 100% was not him that committed the crime? Not to repeat myself, but this evil dude just happened to stop in this town, found out about the year old case, found out where the mother of the victim worked, cornered her, and then talked about how he raped and burned a young woman around the same time to a friend… But it was actually all coincidence? Mind blowing, sloppy, non-sensical writing.
Again, the movie had definite strengths and i can easily see why people loved it, but it had a few huge holes/weaknesses as well.
[BANNER IMAGE: FOX SEARCHLIGHT]