REVIEW | Seven Psychopaths

sevenpsychopaths1Directed by: Martin McDonagh
Written by: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin FarrellWoody HarrelsonSam Rockwell
Released: 05.12.12

To the power of seven

There’s a growing tenor in modern cinema: the meta movie. Whether it be insane arthouse affair such as Holy Motors or genre-sodomising twisters like Cabin in the Woods, the trend is finally catching up with Hollywood – and the result is Seven Psychopaths, arriving from Martin McDonagh after his 2008 success story In Bruges. Marty (Colin Farrell) is an alcoholic screenwriter trying to get his new movie together – yes, we’ve heard that one before – and is incessantly pestered by his best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) who saunters around LA with fellow dog-kidnapper Hans (Christopher Walken). Only one day, they choose the wrong dog to lift – and Marty is caught in the middle of it all. A suitably off-kilter mix of dog-napping, fantastic character moments and clever surprises ensues.

Let’s get the positives out of the way first: when one of Seven Psychopaths‘ characters is telling a tale, it’s almost brilliant, and when these tales actually feed into the main narrative itself, it’s definitely brilliant. But while the screenplay (that’s about a screenplay) services its sinuous, often masterful strokes of plot-wrenching well, it fails to strike much momentum (or point) into its latter half. Perhaps this is a smart deconstructionist move that fits with Seven Psychopath‘s overarching theme, but it’s doubtful.

The film’s at it’s at its strongest when it’s showing it’s characters intense and very different ruminations on love, life and final shoot-outs. The best among these are the ones delivered by Walken and Rockwell; each has its own psychopathic bent, and breathes a youthful energy into a storyline that is riddled with potentially superficial ta-dah moments. Tone-wise, add in a subplot featuring Tom Waits constantly stroking a pet rabbit, and you’re basically there. The more meta moments can be slightly on-the-nose, but when you’re having this much fun kidnapping a Shih Tzu, will you care that much?

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About GaryGreenScreen

Freelance film critic.



  1. Pingback: THE FILM JOURNAL | December 2012 « FilmOnTrial - January 4, 2013

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Gary Green: Freelance film critic.

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