‘Three Billboards’ is a dark drama that is really funny

Back in early 2008, I saw the red-band (R-rated) trailer for a little film called “In Bruges,” starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two hitmen sent to the city of Bruges to hide out after a job goes terribly wrong. The film was filled with extremely coarse language, brutal violence and absolute hilarity, and earned writer/director Martin McDonagh an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Four years later he followed up his success with “Seven Psychopaths,” about a screenwriter who gets drawn into a violent encounter with a local mobster when his friends steal the man’s dog.

Both films were very dark comedies, and McDonagh managed to balance the dramatic moments with the humor. He has perfected this so well in his third feature, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” that he has managed to craft a movie that is not really a dark comedy, but instead a dark drama that just happens to be really, really funny.

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