The Something Something Film Review

Some films have that special something, and some films seem like they stepped in something. Allow me to help you know the difference, and maybe find you something good to watch.

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS – rated ‘R’ / one hour and 50 mins. / w & d by Martin McDonagh / actors: Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, and many more…

I was surprised (and honestly a little hurt) to learn that Martin McDonagh’s rambunctious crime-ensemble SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS was only playing in one theater more than an hour away from me.

Ouch! A large handful of perfectly-capable theaters are sprinkled liberally all around me, but no one wanted to make room for this hip and hilarious star-studded crime-comedy.

Tsk-tsk, theater-owners, for shame.

What – you don’t think people will respond to casual violence and clever banter? Irish accents? Christopher Walken? Cute animals? Masked assassins? Things exploding?!

Because we will. Just so you know. People love that stuff.

But you have to make it convenient for the masses if you want those big AVATAR numbers. So if you have to make a hard decision, then give HERE COMES THE BOOM that single theater in the middle of nowhere.

I believe that given a fair choice, any reasonable person looking for entertainment would much rather watch SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS than that weak and contrived Kevin James-vehicle that’s showing in every theater all over the place. I have to believe that.

There’s way too much talent emanating from this crazy film to short-change it like that. One theater! Pftt.

Talent like writer/director McDonagh, who in 2008 made the darkly-hilarious hit-men-on-holiday film IN BRUGES, also starring Colin Farrell, and which you should also consider to be necessary viewing.

Talent like all the great actors involved. I love Tom Waits in this, and Woody Harrelson. In fact, everyone is perfectly suited to straddle that funny/intimidating line. I also love that Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell have finally been in a movie together. They share a vibe or something, I don’t know what it is, but I like it. A lot.

But really, none of that would be enough without good, solid writing. Because it doesn’t matter how many stars you attract to the project and how much money you drain into it. If the dialogue doesn’t sound right, the characters don’t engage you, and the plot doesn’t make sense, then you may as well be watching JUMPER, SUCKERPUNCH, or THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

Good writing is essential. And McDonagh is solid.

The plot is simple: Rockwell and Walken steal the furry lap-dog of a notorious crime-boss (Woody Harrelson), and a frustrated screenwriter (Farrell) gets caught up in the madness as more and more colorful and dangerous characters are brought into play, and more of his screenplay gets written.

I should mention that Walken’s performance is particularly nuanced in this. Sure, he’s kooky, but you expect that. And then you notice the layers he’s revealing, the depth of character. The sub-text he conveys with mere facial-tics, expression and body-language. And the ease with which he charms you, and breaks your heart. He’s showing off in this. And it works beautifully.

I’ve heard critics compare this film to Tarantino’s work (PULP FICTION and JACKIE BROWN specifically), but I see this as more of ADAPTATION by way of SMOKING ACES. Or perhaps a modern-day BARTON FINK mixed with equal parts LOCK STOCK, GET SHORTY and WHO IS CLETIS TOUT?, but with sharper fangs. Okay last one: it’s THE WHOLE NINE YARDS meets DOMINO, covered in CRANK.

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is perhaps too violent for some. I heard a woman in the theater gasp every time the c-word was uttered. (Oh!) The body-count is high, and the deaths are graphic and quite bloody. But I found that the tone that this film achieves lends the over-the-top violence a kind of silliness and playfulness that reminds me of NATURAL BORN KILLERS or more recently MACHETE. A guy’s head exploding? Yup, that’s meant to be ironic. So just go with it.

Much of this film is directly challenging the ‘reality’ of action-movies and exploring their tropes from within the narrative of the film, much like HOT FUZZ or PINEAPPLE EXPRESS.

So if you enjoy that kind of meta. If you enjoy con-men, and hit-men, and twists and turns and a bit of the ol’ ultra-violence played for macabre laughs, then you should make the effort, find that ONE theater that’s showing it, and watch SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS.

It’s a bloody good time.

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2 comments on “Seven Psychopaths (2012)

  1. mypenandme
    October 28, 2012

    I want to see this! 🙂

  2. Ema M. Arredondo M.
    January 27, 2013

    I agree! Here (Santiago, Chile), after many delays, the movie was released on January 17, very few places, no publicity, barely a few reviews in newspapers. I saw it Sunday. I wanted to see it again… and they took it away. Only a week! How unfair!
    I don’t like bloody movies, but this one was really good. I want to watch it again, still not sure about what was real and what fantasy inside the fantasy. Waiting now for the DVD. I found the ending was something like Sixth Sense meets Fight Club with a touch of Julio Cortázar’s La Noche Boca Arriba.
    I write, and McDonagh makes me want to be able of writing LIKE THAT. The story of the Vietnamese guy was superb.
    And, of course, Walken was the sweetest guy of that crazy bunch.

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