The Director Of ‘Three Billboards’ Has Addressed The Film’s Biggest Controversy

“We’re not making films for six year olds, we’re not making 'The Avengers'," says Martin McDonagh.

Martin McDonagh, the director of the extremely Oscar nominated Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, has responded to the backlash against the film.

Three Billboards is currently nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress, and two nods for Best Supporting Actor (for Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell), and has just won a hatful of Golden Globes and SAG awards. However, along with the hype, there’s been a large amount of backlash.

The majority of the criticism against Three Billboards stems from the depiction of the character of Jason Dixon, played by Sam Rockwell, an idiotic, bigoted and profoundly racist police officer, who many see as being given a redemptive arc by the film.

Critics believe that the measure of empathy given to his character, who tortures an African-American character off screen, stands in stark contrast with the lack of three-dimensional black characters in the film.

Addressing this issue for the first time in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, McDonagh acknowledges that while the character of Dixon is definitely a “racist, bigoted asshole”, there is little in the way of redemption for him.

“I don’t think his character is redeemed at all — he starts off as a racist jerk. He’s the same pretty much at the end, but, by the end, he’s seen that he has to change. … There is room for it, and he has, to a degree, seen the error of his ways, but in no way is he supposed to become some sort of redeemed hero of the piece.”

The director continued his defence of the film in general, saying it is “deliberately messy and difficult,” and that he hopes the film’s critics understand that “our hearts are totally in the right place.”

“We’re not making films for six year olds, we’re not making The Avengers. We’re trying to do something that’s a bit little more difficult and more thoughtful.”