Seven Psychopaths Movie Review
Cast & Crew
Director : Martin McDonagh
Screenwriter : Martin McDonagh
Martin McDonagh gleefully plays with both the gang thriller genre and the moviemaking process with this enjoyably absurd action comedy. It's a little self-indulgent, acknowledging how difficult he found it to follow up his acclaimed film In Bruges. But a continual stream of hilariously clever gags make it thoroughly entertaining, and the seriously great actors are so playful that it's infectious.
At the centre, naturally, is an Irish writer named Marty (Farrell), living in Hollywood and struggling to write his next screenplay. He settles on the title Seven Psychopaths, and decides that his lead character will be a nonviolent Buddhist killer. Otherwise he's stuck. Then he discovers that his hyperactive pal Billy (Rockwell) is running a scam with Hans (Walken), kidnapping dogs and claiming the rewards from their owners. This all goes terribly wrong when they grab the beloved shitzu of the mercurial thug Charlie (Harrelson), sending him into a murderous rampage. And as Marty finds himself in the middle of it, his script starts to take shape.
McDonagh is adept at combining freewheeling wackiness with more astute observational comedy. This film isn't as emotionally resonant as In Bruges, but it crackles with the same sharp dialog and offhanded violent silliness. Most of this plays up the amusing shock value of sudden death, although there are moments that are surprisingly touching, mainly due to a wonderfully textured turn from Walken. Rockwell is the other standout as the manic, unpredictable Billy, an enthusiastic mischief-maker. And Harrelson has a great presence as the funny-terrifying Charlie.
It's obvious that McDonagh and his cast are having a lot of fun with all of these idiotic characters. They may be wildly erratic, but each one has an internal consistency that grabs hold of us. And in Marty, McDonagh writes a character that makes fun of himself. At times the dialog is too smart for its own good, layering in witty observations about the viciousness of the movie business. He even pokes fun at the way these killers sit around talking all the time (prompting Billy to ask, "Are we making a French movie?"). And in the end he saves his biggest joke for studio bosses who insist that a film has a clear final message for its audience. Genius.
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