Mildred Hayes directs her anger over her daughter’s death to Chief Willoughby. FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
If rage could take on human form, it would probably look a lot like Mildred Hayes.
Playing the leading role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which hit Chinese big screens on March 2, Hayes is a mother who grieves at the rape and murder of her teenage daughter, Angela.
She directs her anger toward the local police, who she believes are not doing enough to find the killer. And as the film’s title suggests, Hayes makes sure that the whole world knows about it by renting three billboards and putting her messages up on them: “Raped while dying”; “And still no arrests?”; “How come, Chief Willoughby?”.
The billboards get a lot of attention, and it’s not long before Hayes becomes the most unpopular woman in town. She has to deal with criticism from all around her – from friends of the police to strangers who don’t understand her rage, and even from her own son who blames her for letting Angela’s death affect his life. But Hayes doesn’t give up and always fights back.
“It felt amazing to watch a woman who had passed her breaking point, passed her threshold of dealing with nonsense. It feels [like] we’re in a time where people are forced to take extraordinary measures,” wrote Amy Nicholson, film critic for Variety.
And as the story keeps on going, you’ll see what Nicholson’s “time” means. The film deals with social issues like racial inequality, police brutality, domestic violence, and warfare between men and women. What starts as a crime story soon becomes a social satire, and the question of who killed Angela becomes less of a focus.
The fact that the film doesn’t contain a single major character who’s entirely or even mostly evil is also what makes it so close to reality. Everyone is flawed and has their own pain – Chief Willoughby is actually a good policeman who’s dying of cancer, and Hayes herself sometimes takes her anger too far and fights for the wrong reasons.
影片中并没有哪个主要角色是彻头彻尾的坏人，这点也让电影更加贴近现实。每个人都有缺点和自己的痛处 —— 威洛比警长事实上是位身患癌症的好警官，而海耶斯自己有时则太过火了，因为错误的理由而对抗。
“It’s just a mirror of what the world is,” said US actor Clarke Peters, who plays police officer Abercrombie. “Sometimes life is reflected in art.”