Because of the fun trailer and the excellent talent involved with the film Seven Psychopaths, I had high hopes for this new comedic crime-thriller. I am excited to report that my lofty expectations for this movie were completely blown away and it is so much better (and different) than I had even hoped it would be. This film is fresh, original and crazy fun, and it boldly goes to places that I never could have guessed.
Colin Farrell plays Marty, a struggling screenwriter who has only been able to come up with a cool title for his next screenplay, Seven Psychopaths. His friend Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) is a dog-thief and he is constantly feeding Marty story ideas and trying to help him with his drinking problem as well.
Billy and his dognapping partner Hans (Christopher Walken) feel they are doing no harm when they steal a pooch and then bring it back to the owner once they post a reward for their beloved pet. The partners run into serious trouble though when they lift a little Shih Tzu, named Bonny, from ruthless gangster Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson).
Charlie is a cold-hearted killer, but he loves his little dog and will do pretty much anything to get her back. Billy, Hans and Marty all end up on the run from the gangster, but not before devastating damage has been wrought upon everyone connected to the trio of bungling criminals.
Seven Psychopaths has an unconventional story-within- a-story narrative where the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred and half the fun is trying to figure out which parts are visualizations of Marty’s screenplay, which parts are the imaginings of the “psychopaths” and which parts, if any, have a foothold in Marty’s “real” world. It sounds complicated, but it’s incredibly entertaining.
This is one of those films that is very hard to talk about without giving too much away and spoiling all the good stuff, and there is a lot of good stuff to be had. Fans of the always psycho-like actors Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell are going to love seeing these two together in the same movie, and that barely touches the surface of the wackiness within this film.
Writer/Director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) lets you know early on that nothing is off the table and that he is willing to shock and awe you by going off in the least expected direction. His writing is sharp, witty and he pulls no punches; the story never gets dull and the black comedy is absolutely hilarious.
This film has an amazing cast that includes great cameos by Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Harry Dean Stanton (Alien) and Tom Waits (Dracula) as Zachariah Rigby, one of the Seven Psychopaths. For fans of Waits’ dry wit and unique storytelling prowess, you are in for a real treat.
The music in Seven Psychopaths is unobtrusive, fitting and a great mix of blues and folk tunes like Angel of Death by Hank Williams, The First Cut Is the Deepest by P.P. Arnold and Different Drum by Linda Ronstadt. I could easily be entertained by listening to this film’s dialogue and music soundtrack – even without the picture.
A word of warning, don’t let the cute little Shih Tzu in the film’s trailer fool you. Seven Psychopaths is not a light-hearted comedy about dognappers; it contains extreme violence, vulgarities, nudity and crude humor, sure to offend moviegoers who are sensitive to those themes. But if you are down with very dark and funny comedy, you’re going to love this movie. Also, make sure you stay past the first run of credits at the end of the movie for an excellent epilogue.
The Coen brothers and Quentin Tarantino pretty much wrote the book on quirky, violent, dark comedic films and it’s easy to place Seven Psychopaths in that same category, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as entertaining and original as The Big Lebowski or Reservoir Dogs. Martin McDonagh has created a modern noir classic that is one of the best and most entertaining films of the year. Grade: 9/10
If you are more into cats than dogs (or even if you’re not), check out this amusing trailer spoof of Seven Psychopaths – Seven PsychoCATS!