A film which looks as though it is going in one direction becomes altogether something different as it progresses through Jeanne’s life.
Martin McDonagh not only writes hit plays but films too – and he has also directed all his movies, giving himself in theory at least, creative control over his vision. “Billboards” is his third film and while nothing can in my view touch the brilliance of the dialogue in his first, “In Bruges”, in other ways this is the best so far.
It’s the early days of WWII, and Hitler’s forces are marching relentlessly across Europe with England in their sights – defeat could be weeks or even days away. Prime minister Neville Chamberlain (Pickup) and his “peace” accords with Hitler have proved worthless, and there’s a demand for new leadership.
Ben Stiller is still best known as a comedy actor from films such as the “Zoolander” and “Little Fockers” series and going back to “There’s Something About Mary”. But with this and the recent “Meyerowitz Stories” he now seems to asking us to take him more seriously as an actor.
How the Western has changed since those earlier depictions of the valiant cowboys or charging cavalry versus the snarling, savage, barely human “Red Indians” – Native Americans to you today.
The technique of “mindfulness” or “living in the moment”, which is based on Buddhist meditation, is becoming increasingly popular as a psychotherapy technique in the West. So this documentary about life in the monastery in rural France, which is led by Vietnamese born Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh, couldn’t be more timely.