101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (*so far)

Whisky, cursing, and the truth are central to British playwright Martin McDonagh’s stage and screen work. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, has them all in spades. He wrote the script for his ideal muse, Francis McDormand, who owns her role as a fire-starting, expletive-spitting mother who refuses to allow the case of her daughter’s rape and murder go unsolved. The film garnered McDonagh a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, but he remained undiluted by such accolades: “F**K that Robert McKee shit,” he pronounced, in an interview with the Berlin Film Journal about how he writes. “I have a sense that something needs to happen at certain times, otherwise it’s not going to be an entertaining story, but there are no rules to be followed.”