I Saw A Film Today… Seven Psychopaths

In Bruges was released at a time in my life I have deemed  my first “enlightening” period. It was a wondrous time of discovering films that were not what I grew up watching which were your typical big budget Hollywood blockbusters, even though there are quite a few gems in there. No, this was a period of independent films and deep and inquisitive dramas. I discovered my love of English gangster films like Layer Cake and Snatch. Other celebrated foreign features as well, if you can call English cinema foreign. And, yes, the delights of black comedy, such as Wes Anderson. Still today, In Bruges is one of my favorite comedies to watch. It’s humorous, vulgar, and yet has character depth. You can image my excitement when I learned the director, Martin Mcdonagh, was directing another comedic feature.

Marty (Colin Farrell) is a Irish screenwriter who is currently struggling with his latest screenplay, Seven Psychopaths. To fill his time instead of putting pen to paper, Marty instead takes to a bottle of bourbon. Meanwhile, his troublesome dog thief friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) is letting Marty stay at his house for the time being.

But Marty’s world takes a dangerous turn when Billy steals the shih tzu of an unstable gangster named Charlie (Woody Harrelson) with his dognapping partner Hans (Christopher Walken). Now the unhinged gangster is in hot pursuit of the three men, who decide to hide out in the desert. But Billy isn’t as stable as we’re led to believe and revels to Charlie their location. Looks like Marty will have to participate in a shootout in the desert.

Seven Psychopaths is a deliciously inventive comedy that is in constant evolution throughout the entire film. Although not as well crafted as its predecessor, in a year when comedy has been talking teddy bears and Adam Sandler gibberish, this film is more than a welcome relief. I don’t accurately know how to describe it though. Is it a movie within a movie? Is it fantasy melding with reality? Who knows? Certainly none of the cast.

It is a humorous and smart film. A dark one. And at times a gory one. But humorous none-the-less. The idea that a loving couple of serial killers, one portrayed by the brilliant Tom Waits, goes around the country butchering other serial killers including The zodiac is bloody, graphic, and oddly hilarious. It certainly earns it’s R rating.

The cast could not be more eclectic and perfect cast for a film titled Seven Psychopaths. Colin Farrell, an In Bruges alum (which coincidentally is his finest performance in my opinion), is great here. He plays surprised, innocents, and hopelessness so well. And at the same moment as well. The similarly talented Sam Rockwell is similarly brilliant in his role with many faces. Christopher Walken is always outlandish in whatever role he takes but this may be one of his most subdued.

Woody Harrelson is humorously evil in a role he is born to naturally portray. He is easily and unrelentingly menacing. He’s also goofy in a way only Woody can do. The rest of the cast is minimally used. The lovely Olga Kurylenko is barely in the film for three minutes. Michael Pitt less than that.

While not as well done or well crafted as In Bruges, this brilliant work of comedy is a breath of fresh air in a genre that has mostly been stale this year.

Verdict: SEE IT!

*Rated R for violence, bloody images, pervasive language, sexuality/nudity and drug use. 109 minutes.

** Poster by Dave Banks.

 

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