Spoilers for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri lie ahead
Probably the most controversial of this year’s big Oscar films is the excellent Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The film is nominated for seven Academy Awards, including best picture. But it’s been drawing contention for in particular the character played by (Oscar nominated) Sam Rockwell, who plays a racist cop in the movie.
The argument is that Rockwell’s character gets way too much sympathy given his actions in the film. But McDonagh has responded to the criticism, arguing that the character isn’t redeemed.
“He starts off as a racist jerk,” the director told EW. “He’s the same pretty much at the end, but, by the end, he’s seen that he has to change. There is room for it, and he has, to a degree, seen the error of his ways, but in no way is he supposed to become some sort of redeemed hero of the piece.”
McDonagh added that “it’s supposed to be a deliberately messy and difficult film. Because it’s a messy and difficult world. You have to kind of hold up a mirror to that a little bit and say we don’t have any kind of solution. But I think there’s a lot of hope and humanity in the film and if you look at all those issues with those things in your heart, we might move on to a more interesting place.”
The film is currently playing in cinemas around the world.