Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Writer and director Martin McDonagh has hit big this year with his highly acclaimed and decorated third feature film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It has been collecting hardware for the overall film as well as the performances of Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell, with Woody Harrelson receiving nominations for his role. Like many others, I’ve been a big fan of McDonagh for his first two films; In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. Films that are also worthy of the celebration Three Billboards is receiving this year. What makes me excited for this 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray and standard Blu-ray release is that his short film (and first), the Academy Award winning Six Shooter starring Brendan Gleeson has been included. This release is already available, so if you’re too tired to go to a store and pick it up, please click on the Amazon link to order yourself a copy.


After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby, the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command, Officer Dixon — an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence — gets involved, the battle is only exacerbated.

Martin McDonagh’s latest attempts to showcase some of the more troubling personalities in the current world we live in. Taking that away, its still a work of fiction with some difficult, but well rounded characters partaking in terrific drama.  With such wonderfully crafted character work done, this screenplay manages to play your own expectations on many events that occur in the film with ease. It gives the characters in the film and yourself a surprising turn of guilt for taking a bias in a manner no different than someone you were earlier despising would. Its pretty brilliant in the natural way it plays out and not in a “GOTCHA!” fashion.

Three Billboards is an ensemble movie with a script that gives each performer the opportunity to crank out some of their best work. Case in point, Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell just won Oscars for their outstanding performances in this movie. Both are totally really and down to Earth. While put in many dangerous possibilities, you’re never truly worried from McDormand, just maybe what the repercussions of her actions may bring her. Sam Rockwell is all in as the completely despicable racist, drunkard, off the handle local cop. Filling out the trio is Woody Harrelson as the town sheriff who turns in incredible work as always. Surrounding them is a spectacular little ensemble of Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landry Jones, Abbie Cornish, John Hawkes, Clarke Peters and Lucas Hedges who have good characters in their own right and breathe even more life into this thing.

Looking at the film and seeing some of the trailers, hearing things or just noting that it appears to be just a drama is pretty unfair. As is with most films of its ilk, its a product of its director. And while this is a little different than Martin McDonagh’s previous two (And why not), it still carries what he brings. One of those things is a good sense of fun character work and humor. I suppose you could all this one “darkly comedic”, but all in all, I think much of this is still just straight comedy work with good zingers between characters and actors. It all feels natural, never out of place, and gives this thing its humanity rather than sitting and just being dour the whole time.

When it came to 2017, there were a lot of great films. It was a great year for movies. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was one of the year’s best. While it didn’t make my Top 10 list, it was the final cut and a very tough one to make. Sadly it was one of those, like La La Land, that had its merits stricken and attacked in hopes to favor some other film vying for an Oscar as awards seasons tend to do, but alas, that’s over now and hopefully people can go back to appreciating it. I’ve heard somewhere that you can enjoy more than one of the Academy Award nominees. Here’s looking forward to what Martin McDonagh has in store for us next!


Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Three Billboards features a solid uptick with its jump to 4K Ultra-HD from the Blu-ray counterpart. The film was finished with a 2K DI, so this is a 4K upscale. This adds a little sharper and crisper feeling to the overall image. Some of the coloring is a bit more fluid and some pops out a bit more than it did before. Overall, an improvement, and to me it was noticeable for most of the film, from the Blu-ray.

Depth:  There are a lot of good examples with exteriors of how big this film can look, and many of the establishing shots of mountains and such are airy and beautiful in this image. Movements are natural with no distortions to be found.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and pretty rich in here throughout. I’m not the first to point this out, but there was some nit pick-worthy crushing spotted during the scene where the son and a priest have a talk with Frances McDormand at home.

Color Reproduction: Some things really pop more here, like the actual billboards. They really do stand out here. The HDR comes in handy with things like cigarette cherries, cars lights and neon signs in bars.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish in the film. Facial details like wrinkles, dried blood, freckles, scars and more come through clear as day from any distance. Makeup effects with Sam Rockwell’s burns or Caleb Landry Jones’ injuries hold up very nicely and you can see every little bit of damage they’ve sustained.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 DTS, French 5.1 DTS, German 5.1 DTS, Italian 5.1 DTS, Czech 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Mandarin (Simple), Norwegian, Polish, Swedish

Dynamics: This 4K Ultra-HD version of the film carries the same 5.1 audio track featured on the standard Blu-ray. Its a loud and well rounded track featuring some really effective moments when some form of action (Lots of the fire scenes) takes place. Normal sound effects are mixed in a very present and lifelike manner. The balance between vocals, score and effects is blended quite nicely.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Fires roar, glass shattering, molotov cocktails landing and a nice swift kick to the crotch all give some nice “oompf” from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: While the film is a dialogue heavy one, this mix does good to still read the room and feel present with some solid unique sounds while also guiding the movements from speaker to speaker.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are loud, clean and every bit of diction and mouth sound is heard from the characters.


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy. The bonus features are all featured on the standard Blu-ray disc (REVIEW).

Deleted Scenes (HD, 8:30) 

Crucify ‘Em: Making Of (HD, 29:30) 

Six Shooter (HD, 27:00) 

Concept Art Gallery (HD)

Theatrical Trailers (HD, 6:53)


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri found itself well decorated during awards season and it was well deserved.  Hopefully now that competition is out of the way, some can look back and remember that they did enjoy it at one time. This 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray is a solid upgrade over its Blu-ray counterpart. The only thing it really has to offer is the video improvement, which is noticeable. If this is the format you rock, then this is the one you’ll be wanting to pick up.


Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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