I really wanted to love this. The reviews have been over the moon, and the talent involved is first rate. I soaked in the fine acting, the epic cinematography, the obvious care that was taken in the production, but ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ just doesn’t work. This story of a grieving mother was reaching for the ‘Fargo’ sweet spot – shocking scenes of violence and emotion balanced with the darkly comic goings-on of a small town. Instead, the shocks come from the whiplash-fast changes in tone, from seeing a man burned alive in one second to a dwarf asking the perpetrator for a date the next; from seeing a husband abusing his wife to us laughing about his new, stupid, teenaged girlfriend. It’s jarring, weird, and not handled at all deftly. Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson are great, as always, in the two main roles, but many of the supporting actors suffer from the bipolar script. Sam Rockwell, especially, careens from comic relief to tortured soul and back again with little rhyme or reason. ‘Three Billboards’ is the most disappointed I’ve been in a film all year.

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