Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Seven Psychopaths (2012)
  • Time: 109 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Crime
  • Director: Martin McDonagh
  • Cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken


Marty (Farrell) is a struggling writer who dreams of finishing his screenplay, “Seven Psychopaths”. Billy (Rockwell) is Marty’s best friend, an unemployed actor and part time dog thief, who wants to help Marty by any means necessary. All he needs is a little focus and inspiration. Hans (Walken) is Billy’s partner in crime. A religious man with a violent past. Charlie (Harrelson) is the psychopathetic gangster whose beloved dog, Billy and Hans have just stolen. Charlie’s unpredictable, extremely violent and wouldn’t think twice about killing anyone or anything associated with the theft. Marty is going to get all the focus and inspiration he needs, just as long as he lives to tell the tale

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  • What do you get when you mix seven psychopaths, a supporting role by an expressionless Shih Tzu and over-the-top Tarantino-esque violence? You get a sharply penned script with killer dialogue and grade-A talent hysterically meshed together. But more importantly, you get Christopher Walken.

    The Irish writer-director of 2008’s In Bruges, Martin McDonagh, takes a step in Hollywood’s direction as playwright turned filmmaker with 2012’s Seven Psychopaths. Throwing Hollywood film making in our face, this film is first a comedy and secondly a witty commentary on the idea of violence as entertainment in cinema. He’s right on target. Encroaching on Tarantino’s iconic style of violence, McDonagh proves that not only can do it too, and make it look good, but addresses what all his characters are thinking…does violence constitute a good script? Marty doesn’t think so.

    Marty (Colin Farrell) is an Irish alcoholic struggling in Los Angeles to pen his next screenplay, Seven Psychopaths, but hits a dry spell for inspiration. Marty wants his plot to be unique and edgy, but not too violent and not too dull. He throws in the idea of a Buddhist psychopath to join the seven, but questions how the other six will pan out. Marty’s best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) assists Marty in piecing together his characters, with less pacifism and a more violent “shoot-em-up” twist…the ingredient for box-office success. Violence sells, right?

    But there’s a catch. Billy’s got a dognapping gig on the side…stealing dogs from visibly wealthy owners, housing them in a makeshift animal shelter and resurfacing with the dog days later after the desperate owner posts flyers with generous rewards$$ for the safe return of their beloved pooch. Billy’s partner in this scheme is Hans (Christopher Walken). Hans, a surprisingly touching character in the film, developed the risky business to raise money for his wife, hospitalized with cancer. It’s a low profile gig with seemingly no violence, until Billy steals the wrong dog.

    Meet Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson). A legitimate psychopath/criminal with an extremely silly adoration for his pint-sized Shih Tzu, Bonny, whose dog collar reads something like “If you don’t return my dog, I’ll kill you.” Marty finds himself unintentionally intertwined in a complete disaster with Billy and Hans when they realize they’ve stolen a psychopath’s dog. And to top it all off, Billy places an ad in the paper looking for “psychopaths” who are willing to tell their tale for Marty’s screenplay, in hopes of further sparking more inspiration.

    What makes this entire plot hilarious and well-scripted, is that the characters in the movie “re-write” the script as it’s happening…virtually manipulating how they want their story to pan out. Hence, the best shootout ever. Or is it?

    Both verbally and visually amusing, this film enters the rankings of my top-tier films of the years, falling with Beasts of the Southern Wild and Killer Joe. It doesn’t follow a specific format, and doesn’t cater to cinematic expectations. And for that reason, it’s great. It’s not all just silly and laughs, although there’s plenty of that, there is a slight emotional edge of melancholy depicted by Christopher Walken’s character. It all brews together into a cinematic explosion of creativity that 2012 desperately needed, and it was one of the few films that year that you’ll have to watch more than once.

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