Mildred Hayes has had it. It’s been weeks since her daughter was brutally raped and murdered, and the local police force in Ebbing, Missouri don’t have a single perp to show for all their efforts. Feeling disrespected and unheard, Mildred does the only thing an ordinary citizen at the end of their rope can do: She clarifies which cursewords you can put on a billboard and puts a message right where area sheriff Willoughby will see it. Them’s fightin’ words on her billboards, reading “RAPED WHILE DYING. STILL NO ARRESTS. HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?” And in the newly released red-band trailer begins a long, farcical, spiteful conflict between one-woman army MIldred and the local cops.

Playing the lead part with a majestically foulmouthed brio is Frances McDormand, squaring off against Woody Harrelson’s frustrated police officer. The supporting cast offers some welcome familiar faces, from past Oscar nominees John Hawkes and Lucas Hedges to Sam Rockwell as a layabout policeman and Peter Dinklage as a dinner guest with Mildred. This looks like a marvelous, misanthropic extension of director Martin McDonagh’s usual style, chockablock with slapsticky violence (McDormand kicking a teen in his jewels is funny enough, but her turning around and kicking his female companion in the groin as well is somehow exponentially funnier), creative profanity, and funny little Coen-esque twists of fate.

With Fargo nearly back in action, Green Room winning raves last year, and I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore dominating Sundance, there’s never been a time to be an easily angered small-town type clumsily pursuing a harsh revenge plot. Mildred’s out of her mind, and in good company.

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