I love it when a movie reveals a philosophical perspective on the human condition that shifts my own views.
To me, that is the bookmark of a great film. Three Billboards not only says “Hey, look at it this way..” It also reveals the nuances of the subject while displaying your own moral skepticism.
Three Billboards is about emotional reaction; anger specifically.
Many psychiatrists will tell you to not act out of emotion. Even in less chaotic ordeals, an old addage would be “think before you speak” or act for that matter.
The human condition often refers to our own management of emotions. You don’t want to suppress them – or you’ll explode. But you also don’t want to wear them on your sleeve. You want to be logical or precise in your composure and language.
Unfortunately for us, it’s easier said than done.
Three Billboards could’ve concluded much earlier than it did. But McDonagh wanted the audience to be clear that there is no right answer to what is “too far” – it comes down to moral subjectivity.
Early on in the third act, we get it – anger begets greater anger. The chaos in Mildred’s wake forced into perspective.
But can we just “not be angry?” Especially when loved ones are ripped from us and we are backed into an emotional corner? Again, easier said than done. Can we control the chaos around us with a little thing called justice?
Three Billboards doesn’t answer that, because there is no answer. It’s up to us, the audience, and our definition of “too far.”