The Reel Thing: Three Billboards…

Three Billboards, two racists.


In part one of a new series scouring the latest cinema releases for stuff to be outraged by, I cast my intersectional eye over 2018’s most problematic Oscar contender.

There’s so much wrong with Three Billboards Outside Epping Forest I don’t know where to begin. From offensive dialogue featuring more ‘fags’, ‘cunts’ and ‘niggers’ than a ‘Fatty’ Brown box-set to the fact that it’s a story about rape and murder written by a man who’s never been raped or murdered, its relentless assault on liberal values has rightly appalled Gender Studies graduates everywhere.

The movie draws first blood from the off and continues to punch down for two tortuous hours. In a damning indictment of the film’s repugnance, the deeply problematic opening features a woman in overalls bullying a ginger-nut while dropping C-bombs left, right and centre yet still manages to be one of the movie’s least offensive scenes.

Indeed, listening to every overwritten line of dialogue in Malcolm McDonald’s festival of filth is akin to being severely beaten by a chatty Trump supporter who insists on repeating every jackboot to the head in case your skull didn’t quite catch it first, second and third time.

But it’s not just the violent language that make Three Billiards the most politically incorrect film since 1992’s paean to police brutality The Boys In Black. (And at least Hollywood had the decency to re-make that dangerous piece of fascist propaganda twenty years later as a diverse summer blockbuster, replacing original stars Little & Large with Tommy Lee Smith as a sharp-suited two-headed alien.)

No, what really galls about McDonald’s movie is the arrogant way he assumes he has the freedom to not only write a racist cop but neglect to show the foul lawman being punished. Sure, Sam Roswell’s un-PC PC may get fired, beaten senseless, nearly burnt alive and forced to kiss a tortoise, but at no point do we see him being shamed on social media or battered with bike-chains by fearless anti-capitalists in £250 Burberry hoodies.

Indeed, when he is sacked halfway through it’s not because of his ugly views but because he throws someone out of a window, propagating the dangerous idea that punching a man several times and hurling him through a pane of glass is anywhere near as abhorrent as using the N-word.

But worse still, by the time the film mercifully ends we are expected to believe this bigot has become the good guy. That’s right, McDonald is so in thrall to white supremacy he demands his audience sympathise with a redneck piss-head who tortures black suspects and uses the word ‘midget’ to describe a midget.

That’s right, just because McDonald is a Trump supporter hiding in plain sight – surely sufficient grounds for a lifelong Hollywood ban? – he seems to think it entitles him to create a fictional character who isn’t a very nice person. Then has the nerve to suggest this not very nice fictional person might have become a marginally nicer fictional person, as if ignorance and prejudice can just be switched off and all it takes is a fictional woman’s invitation to help her murder a sex-pest and all will forgiven.

Which brings us to the film’s greatest sin: the ending. Or as it is now surely known in liberal circles, ‘The biggest fuck you to #MeToo since the Poundland rape-pixie forced its teabag-testes down a dead doll’s throat’. Because it didn’t just rankle due to the fact that it defied logic, stretched credibility and punished those of us who can’t hold a piss in beyond 90 minutes. No, far, far worse was the manipulative manner in which it offered the audience a glimmer of hope before trampling over our dreams with the most cruel twist since that big bat thing shot Tom Jones’ son at the end of The Fog.

Because just when we’ve been fooled into thinking Rockliffe’s character has earned his redemption and is about to disregard that archaic principle known as ‘due process’ by killing a man he believes is a rapist, the rug is viciously pulled as he changes his mind. Or rather, he and his accomplice meekly imply they probably won’t carry out the murder after all, limping to an ambiguous, open-ended and cravenly spineless climax. You’d almost think he made the film for intelligent adults rather than curtain-twitching pitchfork wielders.

But this is symptomatic of the way Hollywood is being slowly infected with the cancer of Trumpism, denying a leftist audience the warm glow of leaving a theatre believing there is one less white man in the world. Instead we are left speechless as McDonald recklessly promotes that most reactionary of concepts, ‘innocent until proven guilty’. That’s right, in 2018 a privileged white male is actually trying to say a man accused of sexual assault might not be guilty. Contemptible.

Sadly this has been coming for some time, with Trump’s sinister attempts to turn the movie industry into a fascist misinformation machine pre-dating both his presidency and his career in politics. Indeed, for an early warning sign one only has to recall Billy Bigelow’s love-letter to Islamophobia, Zero Dark Chocolate.

That Trump was pulling the creative strings on this ‘factual’ account of the extrajudicial killing of Saddam Hussein is blindingly obvious. From the hysterical script repeatedly accusing innocent Islamists of terrorism to star Bryce Dallas Campbell’s cultural appropriation of numerous ethnic headscarves, the movie is practically a recruiting video for the MAGNA crowd.

And don’t even get me started on the waterboarding scenes, laughably defended by Bigelow on the grounds that because the FBI used torture during the search for Saddam that makes it perfectly acceptable to show torture in a film about the search for Saddam. Pull the other one. A moderate Muslim on a flying horse can see Trump used the political weight he wouldn’t accrue for another four years to goad the director into kidnapping a brown actor and trying to drown him on camera for a laugh.

Luckily the tide is turning, with brave tinseltown liberals putting their necks on the line and selflessly taking a stand against an abusive culture they were only too happy to ignore when it was expedient to do so. Hence the official decree that any actress who refuses to stick two fingers up at the patriarchy by wearing a black dress to an awards bash is clearly suffering from internalised misogyny and deserves to have her vagina cut off by progressive theocrat Linda Sasquatch.

Indeed, one only has to read a random Twitter thread about shifty Zionist Woody Allen to see how brilliantly the ‘Believe Victims’ mantra has consumed not only the cream of Hollywood but the absolute best of social media. And much like their Hollywood counterparts who recently decided to boycott Allen even though there is no more evidence against him now than there was when they all worked with him, cognitive dissonance and an aversion to facts is vital.

Needless to say, the stand against Allen beautifully illustrates the modern left-wing belief that spending half an hour researching a subject before commenting on it should be avoided at all costs. Who wants to have their preconceived ideas about someone dismantled by inconvenient truths when it’s far more satisfying to believe a man raped his daughter because three members of a deeply dysfunctional family say so?

Unsurprisingly, cowardly voices in the movie industry are refusing to get on board. And lo and behold, as if the racism and rape apologism of Three Billabongs wasn’t sickening enough, it also features a supporting role for…Woody Allen. Unbelievable.

I suppose the one bit of credit we can give McDonald is that he wisely cuts short the former Taxi star’s role by having his character shoot his own face off. But until that happens in real life it will be little comfort to his many victims. And despite numerous gerrymandered Oscar nominations, insiders suggest the presence of Allen has all but guaranteed this grubby little movie will end the night empty-handed.

So having already steered his wife Francis to one undeserved Oscar win in 1987 with Argo, fingers crossed McDonald’s luck has run out. After last year’s ceremony recognised, celebrated and patronised the black community it would be a travesty if all that hard-fought tokenism was shat on by the academy choosing to honour a disgusting piece of alt-right propaganda.

Stick THAT on a billboard, Missouri.



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