We’re all allowed to indulge our inner psycho once in awhile, aren’t we? If it’s wrong to laugh uncontrollably when someone’s head explodes after getting hit with a crossbow, I don’t want to be right.
“Seven Psychopaths” is the new, and completely original, black comedy from writer/ director Martin McDonagh.
Marty (Colin Farrell) is a screen writer with writer’s block. His girlfriend kicks him out so he crashes with his best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell). Billy is in the dog-kidnapping … I mean dog borrowing business. He and his partner Hans (Christopher Walken) “borrow” dogs for a couple days then return them for a reward.
One day, Billy grabs the wrong dog, a shih tzu belonging to gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson). Everyone one is a bit psychopathic, some more than others, and the epic battle over the dog just may be the inspiration Marty needs for his next script.
McDonagh has interesting ways of telling stories. Because we’re following Marty and his struggle to write a screenplay, there’s a little movie-within-a-movie element. The characters tell you what should be in a good movie, then the film goes on to have those elements.
For example, while driving in the desert Billy sees a large pile of rocks and announces that it’d be a great place for a final showdown and … surprise! Where do you think the final showdown takes place?
The characters, and the cast they got to portray them, sell this movie. I have never seen characters like this! Farrell’s Marty is meant to be the straight man, the one the audience can relate to. He serves his purpose and Farrell is good but Marty lacks the depth of the other characters and falls a little flat at times.
Walken and Harrelson are incredible. Walken’s Hans is a quaker and a pacifist. His backstory makes him an incredibly layered character and you can understand how he became the psychopath he is. Harrelson is wacko from the beginning but he loves his doggie so much. It’s sweet and enduring and you almost feel sorry for this psycho.
But these three are only appetizers leading up to the greatest character and stand-out performance of Sam Rockwell.
Holy crap on a cracker! Marty’s friend Billy is totally bat-shit, cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, wickity wack cray-cray. And I can’t imagine anyone else but Sam Rockwell in this role. It’s … beautiful. The only word to describe the performance is awesome. He delivers these monologues and speeches that almost make sense while he’s talking, but then he stops and you realize that no, he’s insane. Rockwell steals the movie, and like most psychopaths, shows no remorse.
Now, my sense of humor tends to lean more towards the absurd. This is a very dark comedy and not for everyone. The gratuitous violence and copious, almost Tarentinoesque, amounts of blood aren’t for everyone.
There are some characters in this movie that I have entirely no idea why they exist. I don’t understand why one of the psychopaths carries around a white rabbit. But I still find it hilarious that he exists in this world. If you prefer your movies to be easily explainable, this one probably isn’t for you either.
If you liked “In Bruges,” (McDonagh’s first feature film), you’ll enjoy “Seven Psychopaths.” “Bruges” never found commercial success even though critics loved it. “Psychopaths” should find a wider audience with the help of it’s star-studded cast.
I was thoroughly entertained by “Seven Psychopaths” but not everyone will be. If you like realism or plausibility, I’d stay away. My only thought walking out of the theater was “WTF was that!” But I laughed a lot, and had a lot of fun.
- Psychopaths Are People Too – “Seven Psychopaths” Review (shootingthescript.wordpress.com)
- ‘Psychopaths’ a sadistically hilarious crime comedy (dailyherald.com)
- Seven Psychopaths: Smart, Violent, Crazy Fun (entertainment.time.com)