The second part of our movie review double bill is ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’.
The film tells the tale of Mildred Hayes (played by Frances McDormand) , a grieving mother of a murdered teenager, angry at the lack of progress made in finding her daughter’s killer, who erects three billboards outside town, calling the local police chief to task. Now it’s not just the influence of our foulmouthed butler Eldritch and his Anglo-Saxon tendencies but this film really hit home with us (and if you are easily offended could we suggest this film, this blog post and the trailer below might not be for you).
Having said that there are many reasons why we think you should watch this film (not least of which are the excellent script and performances ) . Whilst the issues raised in the film – anger , guilt, grief, retribution and the abuse of power has many resonances for us ,there is one particular scene that nailed one of our recurring themes and made us wanna holler , stand up and clap our hands (see below) .
We’ve previously established our uncompromising views on Wirral’s gang mentality when we published C.S Lewis’ eloquent analysis about how ‘The Inner Ring’ operates : Wirral Council Scoundrels : Five Years On
However we maintain there is a gang mentality which is about more than just members of a particular political party who happen to follow the same religion and the same football team (although it must be said there are a few Wirral Leaks regulars who fit this particular demographic) . It is the means by which the powerful across all of our local institutions protect each other knowing that if they’re part of this gang they can never be criticised and can never be culpable.
SPOILER ALERT ! This is Mildred’s response to Father Montgomery who comes to visit Mildred to voice his disapproval at the billboards . Whilst this may be a less eloquent modern counterpoint to C.S Lewis and ‘The Inner Ring’ we consider it no less powerful.
I know it’s been hard for you, Mildred,
this past year. We all do. The whole
town does. And whatever it is you need,
we’ll be there for you. Always. But the
town also knows what kind of a man
William Willoughby is. And the town is
dead set against these billboards of
Took a poll, did ya, Father?
If you hadn’t stopped coming to church,
Mildred, you’d be aware of the depth of
people’s feelings. I had a dozen people
come up to me on Sunday. So, yes, I
took a poll. Everybody is on your side
about Angela. No-one’s on your side
Y’know what I was thinking about,
earlier today? I was thinking ‘bout
those streetgangs they got in Los
Angeles, the Crips and the Bloods? I
was thinking about that buncha new laws
they came up with, in the 80’s I think
it was, to combat those street-gangs,
those Crips and those Bloods.
And, if I remember rightly, the gist of
what those new laws said was, if you
join one of these gangs, and you’re
running with ‘em, and down the block
from you one night, unbeknownst to you,
your fellow Crips, or your fellow
Bloods, shoot up a place, or stab a
guy, well, even though you didn’t know
nothing about it, even though you
may’ve just been standing on a
streetcorner minding your own business,
those new laws said you are still
culpable. You are still culpable, by
the very act of joining those Crips, or
those Bloods, in the first place. Which
got me thinking, Father, that whole
type of situation is kinda similar to
you Church boys, ain’t it? You’ve got
your colors, you’ve got your clubhouse,
you’re, for want of a better word, a
gang. And if you’re upstairs smoking a
pipe and reading a bible while one of
your fellow gang members is downstairs
fucking an altar boy then, Father, just
like the Crips, and just like the
Bloods, you’re culpable. Cos you joined
the gang, man. And I don’t care if you
never did shit or never saw shit or
never heard shit. You joined the gang.
So , thinking particularly about a file in our possession, Her Ladyship is currently channelling Mildred Hayes and wondering whether to organise a Crowdfund page to hire some billboards as ‘the more you keep a case in the public eye, the better your chances are at getting it solved ‘………………………………………………………………..