Reviews

Seven Psychopaths

3

The In Bruges gang goes to Hollywood...

“He's the best writer of his generation but he needs to stay focused,” says loose cannon Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) of his buddy Martin (Colin Farrell), an Irish screenwriter adrift in Hollywood trying to finish his latest screenplay, Seven Psychopaths.

It's something that may, one day, be said about Martin McDonagh of In Bruges fame, but not this time.

In his second film, a loopy, loop-filled black comedy, it's impossible to separate what's witty self-reflexivity from what's simply an Irish screenwriter adrift in Hollywood trying to finish his latest screenplay. Still, there's fun to be had trying.

Like those post-Tarantino gangster farces that proliferated in the 1990s, Seven Psychopaths introduces a series of explosive LA characters - Martin and his wife (Abbie Cornish), Billy and Hans (Christopher Walken), who kidnap dogs for money, bonkers gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson), who loves his shih tzu, not to mention the eponymous septet of serial killers, who may or may not be fictional - then waits for them to messily intersect.

Each new arrival is either famous (Harry Dean Stanton, Michael Pitt, Precious’ Gabourey Sibide), insane, or both, as if creator and creation have become overly giddy with the possibilities of Hollywood.

Just as (fictional) Martin becomes distracted by Billy, Hans and Charlie, so too does (real) Martin allow this average crime caper to become untethered, letting his larger-than-life characters steer it into crazily metatextual territory.

One standout sequence shows Bickle acting out what should happen next in Martin's film: all exploding heads and bouncing boobs. It's both a tour de force, and precisely the sort of crap McDonagh won't let himself make, however much he threatens to.

Although Rockwell and Walken have lots of fun out-whackjobbing each other, and the dialogue is profanely, profoundly silly-smart, what's anarchy and what's untidiness is constantly up for debate. “We making French movies now?” asks Bickle as the narrative takes a talky about-turn.

Elsewhere Hans tells Martin, truthfully, “Your women characters are awful.” But if McDonagh can see what's wrong, why not fix it rather than satirise it?

Viewed in this light, perhaps the freewheeling plot is a get-out-of-jail-free card for a writer who doesn't quite know what to do next, rather than evidence of his (undisputed) originality? Whatever it is, you'd be mental to miss it - a little more focus and he may yet earn that accolade.

Verdict:

Engagingly off-centre, like Charlie Kaufman taking down Quentin Tarantino, this sunbaked shaggy-dog story is a place-holder film for McDonagh, and often closer to chaos than it is to genius.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • BazVanderClap

      Oct 22nd 2012, 14:36

      4

      Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I had the pleasure of seeing End of Watch, Sightseers and this yesterday during the London Film Festival, and for here wasn't a single moment that was less than thoroughly entertaining, and has more gut-laughs pound-for-pound than any other so-called 'comedy' that I've seen in a very long time. Yes, it's messy, mental and at times incoherent, but that's all part of it's ramshackle charm, and it's bolstered by terrific performances by the entire cast, most notably Walken (the best he's been in years) and Rockwell. 3 stars this film most certainly is not.

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    • BazVanderClap

      Oct 22nd 2012, 14:52

      4

      Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I had the pleasure of seeing End of Watch, Sightseers and this yesterday during the London Film Festival, and this was easily the pick of a very fine bunch. There wasn't a single moment that was less than thoroughly entertaining, and has more gut-laughs pound-for-pound than any other so-called 'comedy' that I've seen in a very long time. Yes, it's messy, mental and at times incoherent, but that's all part of it's ramshackle charm, and it's bolstered by terrific performances by the entire cast, most notably Walken (the best he's been in years) and Rockwell. 3 stars this film most certainly is not.

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    • MillerCrosses

      Oct 23rd 2012, 17:22

      Oh grow up clappy boy.

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    • BazVanderClap

      Oct 23rd 2012, 23:58

      Sorry, didn't know how to delete a post and the first one deleted half of a sentence and didn't make sense. Regardless, I loved this film.

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    • samtebow

      Oct 28th 2012, 18:16

      as Ray said I didnt know that some people are able to make $7575 in one month on the internet. did you look at this link...bit.ly\X24LHP

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    • bugmenot

      Dec 21st 2012, 8:02

      Its just awesome! Downloaded from moviesfirecom

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    • ChrisB098

      Jan 31st 2013, 5:08

      5

      I thought that this was a really clever movie and the performances were great. I thought that everything was very intentionally done, but it was kind of confusing because at once genius and trashy being a satire of itself. I was talking with a friend that I work with at DISH who thought that it was just a knock off Tarantino flick, but that is just viewing this movie on the surface level. I had no idea that this movie even existed, but I found it while searching through the 100,000 movies I can rent through DISH’s Blockbuster @Home account. I love finding hidden little gems like this one, and it instantly became one of my favorite movies that I have seen in the last year.

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