The Screenplay's the Thing
Watching Seven Psychopaths is like having a surrealistic nightmare you can’t help enjoying. Weird things keep happening, characters are not always what they seem, and conversations don’t make a lot of sense at times -- but everything is so darn fascinating. Credit goes to writer/director Martin McDonagh and four splendid actors for giving us a different type of dark comedy to rave about. Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson have never been better than in this off-beat movie about a screenwriter who gets his inspiration from a questionable -- and very strange -- source.
Farrell plays Marty, the screenwriter. He’s chosen a great title for his screenplay, Seven Psychopaths, but can’t seem to flesh it out as quickly as his best friend Billy (Rockwell) would like. So Billy, an actor, feeds Marty suggestions on a regular basis while stealing dogs with Hans (Walken), another close friend. Billy’s latest caper involves a gangster’s (Harrelson) much-beloved pet, and this starts a series of bloody incidents that soon threaten the lives of all three friends.
Each actor here portrays their character with an intensity seldom seen in film comedies. Farrell (In Bruges) convinces us that Marty, Irish to the core, is oblivious to much that’s happening around him, especially when he’s struggling to come up with 7 psychopaths for his screenplay. He’s also very funny in scenes when people complain about his drinking – which seems to be viewed as more evil than all the shooting and killing taking place among his associates. Rockwell (Conviction) endows Billy with an energetic and scary mercurial charm. Walken (Click) simply becomes Hans, a religious man who appears calmer than anyone would expect considering the tragedy he’s been through. And Harrelson (Zombieland) chews up every bit of the scenery as a volatile mobster with an obsession for his cute little dog Bonnie.
Thankfully, McDonagh (In Bruges) gives his actors amusing dialogue while moving the film along without a lot of slice-and-dice photography. The movie also boasts plenty of shocks and surprises, which always add to my viewing pleasure.
Although Seven Psychopaths is not a laugh-out-loud type of comedy, its subtle humor comes through in many intriguing scenes. If you’re looking for an unusual movie-going experience without in-your-face 3D, this is a good bet for you.
(Released by CBS Films and rated “R” for strong violence, bloody images, pervasive language, sexuality and nudity, and some drug use.)
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