Seven Psychopaths is impossible to sum up in one sentence. That single sentence above does nothing to describe what is actually going on in this film. Hell, in that one sentence I didn’t even mention the main character of the film, Marty (Colin Farrell), a screenwriter who is writing a script called Seven Psychopaths. Essentially, the film is the misadventures of Marty, Billy, and Hans as they are being hunted by Charlie. It is a wonderful film that mixes genres with reckless abandon and comes out the other side as a black comedy. It is funny, off beat, and slightly disturbing at times and is completely entertaining.
Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (the amazing In Bruges), Seven Psychopaths is another crime tale told with an eye to dialogue and the silly situations that these people get in to. It is a shame that this film was not nominated for an Academy Award. It is that good.
Marty is a screenwriter working on his new script called Seven Psychopaths and is having difficulties coming up with anything but the title. His friend, unemployed actor Billy, is attempting to help him write the script, but Marty does not want his help. Billy is also a dog kidnapper with his partner Hans. They kidnap the dogs and return them shortly thereafter to receive the rewards that people post. When Billy and Hans kidnap the dog of a mobster, Charlie, in an effort to get a bigger payout, things go off the rails. Charlie is crazy about his dog and will stop at nothing to get it back. To tell you more about the plot would be heading into spoiler territory. Let’s just say that there is a Vietnamese priest and a hooker, an old man serial killer with a bunny just looking for his lost love, and a quaker who stalks his daughters murderer for years. Yeah, the movie is crazy.
I am a huge fan of McDonagh’s work on the film In Bruges, which also starred Colin Farrell. While I don’t think this film surpasses that one, it is certainly in the same vein and provides an excessive amount of entertainment. From the situations the characters find themselves in to the fabulous dialogue, McDonagh proves that he’s not just a one trick pony.
All four of the leads give wonderful performances. Colin Farrell as Marty is a drunk screenwriter with a case of writers block. Sam Rockwell as Billy is an unemployed actor with some mental issues. Christopher Walken as Hans is just an old man trying to earn cash for his wife who is dying of cancer. Woody Harrelson plays Charlie, the mobster with a strange obsession with his dog. All four of them are simply brilliant in their respective roles.
The biggest standout for me in the film, though, is Tom Waits as Zachariah Rigby. While he is in the film in a fairly minor role, he is simply fantastic. Always carrying a bunny, he recounts the tale of being a ‘killer of killers’ and his lost love. I will not go into more detail than that, but he is amazing and the story he tells is actually moving.
Yes, this review is pretty short. This is due to the fact that the film is so bat-crap crazy that I do not want to spoil your enjoyment of it. I had seen the trailers but found myself completely surprised by how the film unfolded. I would recommend you check this film out. It is funny, violent, gory, and at times surprisingly heartfelt.
*** out of ****