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Your moviegoer's guide to the crazy landscape of Missouri #ThreeBillboards

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We’re just under two weeks away from one of our most anticipated releases of early 2018.

With numerous Golden Globe nominations to its name, including Best Motion Picture (Drama) and Best Screenplay, it’s easy to see why Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ranks so highly on our must-see list. (Unlimited fans – don’t forget to book for tonight's advance screening here.)

Written and directed by In Bruges Oscar winner Martin McDonagh, the film tells the story of Mildred Hayes, a divorced mother who is enraged by the failure of the local police to solve her daughter’s brutal murder – prompting her to antagonise the authorities with shocking results. The premise is certainly intriguing, but it doesn’t necessarily make us want to rush out and book a trip to Missouri... 

Now we’re not pretending to be genuine tour guides but, in anticipation of the film reaching our screens, we’ve put together a list of the most important things we’ve learned about Missouri from films so far. Who knows, you might learn something new?

Winter’s Bone (2010)

Top tip Keep your family close

Winter’s Bone follows teenager Ree (The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence) as she struggles to locate her father, the one person who can prevent her family from being evicted from their home.

Set in the rural, deprived communities of Missouri's Ozark mountains, the film follows Ree’s desperate attempts to provide for her young siblings whilst also finding her father before his court hearing.

Since its release in 2010 the film has received widespread acclaim, particularly for Lawrence in what's viewed as her breakout performance. We don’t think we’d like to live a day in this family’s shoes though.


You’re Next (2011)

Top tip Look behind you!

How can an innocent family vacation go so horribly wrong? All the Davisons want is a reunion in their secluded Missouri vacation home, but then things take a deadly and decidedly grisly turn. With every family member in danger at the hands of a group of masked assailants, it’s everyone for themselves.

Since its release in 2011 director Adam Wingard's You’re Next has gained a large cult following, but we know we won’t be vacationing in rural Missouri anytime soon...


Looper (2012)

Top tip This should be fairly explanatory, but don’t join a crime syndicate

Taking place in the year 2044, Looper follows Joe, a member of a Kansas City crime syndicate who helps the mob to dispose of their victims.

In this vision of the future time travel is a possibility, but outlawed. Nevertheless, the mob uses it to their advantage, and hires loopers to time travel in order to dispose of bodies without risk of discovery. Far from an ideal job, but following the discovery that the contract will end with his own assassination, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is desperate to escape the loop.

Directed by Rian Johnson, before he embarked on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Looper went on to become a box office and critical hit, grossing $176 million on a budget of only $30 million.


Gone Girl (2014)

Top tip Avoid neighbours like the Dunnes

Based on the bestselling novel by Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl follows the sudden and shocking disappearance of Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). Suspicion immediately falls on her husband Nick (Ben Affleck) – but is there more to this marriage than meets the eye?

If you haven’t seen David Fincher’s fiendishly twisty thriller there’s not much more we can say without revealing huge spoilers. However, we will say that Nick and Amy are definitely not a couple we would like to hang around with if we happened to live nearby. They do seem to live in quite a nice area though.


Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Top tip Avoid celestial beings

OK, so very little time is actually spent in Missouri during Guardians of the Galaxy, but given how easily young Peter Quill (played as an adult by Chris Pratt) is abducted from his home town, it doesn’t seem like the safest of places. Missouri is also where his journey begins after he says goodbye to his beloved mother (Laura Haddock), who bequeaths him the treasured Awesome Mix Vol. 1 mixtape. 

Flash-forward more than 25 years to the events of Vol. 2, and we see how the innocent inhabitants of Missouri get caught up in the chaos of his evil father Ego’s (Kurt Russell) plan. The film never does clear up how things end for the locals following the destruction...


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Top tip Don't be afraid to give people a push (but also know when to rein it in)

How far would you go to find out the truth? After the horrific death of her daughter, it’s no surprise that Mildred Hayes (Golden Globe nominee Frances McDormand) wants answers.

Seven months later she decides to take matters into her own hands, hiring three billboards on the outskirts of town urging the local authorities to give her the closure she so desperately needs. Her actions ignite the anger of the local residents, including compassionate Sheriff Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and his hot-headed, racist deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwell).

Will Mildred find what she is looking for? We don’t have long now until we can find out – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is released on 12th January 2018.


Hannah Dixon is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.