The most surprising element in play with this movie is that it is a piece of American Cinema in the 21st Century. The typical tropes would have one believe this was the work of a far flung European or South East Asian auteur. To create such a direct, dark, and stark portrayal of the vagaries of life is a daring act for one, yet it is a different ballgame to balance a fine attention to emotional detail with a fine grip on the overarching themes that sum human existence. Writer-Director Martin McDonagh aces this balance in what is a very layered screenplay with oodles of subtext and unpredictability. The kind of unpreditability that defines life and those aforementioned vagaries. There's great sadness and burning anger in the portrayal yet there is realistic humor. It's all quite refreshing to behold.
Frances McDormand is a brute force here, as Mildred, a terrific counterpoint to her affable character from "Fargo". Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson manage to squeeze empathy quite well too. Ben Davis' camera work is sufficiently mellow while Carter Burwell's music (combined with additional music), a powerful anchor. Most American Cinema revels in templates. Tragedies end in redemptive relief. Comedies exist in their own realm. Hardly does it pull off a realistic mix of these with brilliant effectiveness. And guts. This, though, is a fine example of template bashing. "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" is out in theaters now.
Atlantic City says so much about two people in a relationship, without saying too much.
A comedy that is fun, while being just good cinema in the first place.