Our rave review of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri notes that cinematographer Ben Davis
“captures the action and outbursts of violence with assured zip and clarity.” Though true, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Martin McDonagh
’s third feature — his second with Davis behind the camera, following 2012’s Seven Psychopaths
— is among the most beautiful released this year, photographed with a knowledge of its small-town environment (North Carolina rather than Missouri, but let’s not hold that against the film) that renders seemingly quotidian settings a scarred landscape of pain and anger.
Speaking one-on-one with Davis will make clear that Billboards‘ fine palette is no happy accident, instead being the result of intense consideration for environment, emotion, color, space, and, especially in the case of a show-stopping single take — one that hardly asks for us to stand and applaud, even as we’re wondering how it could be pulled off — movement.