johnlink ranks SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (2012)

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is the second feature written and directed by IN BRUGES mastermind Martin McDonagh. IN BRUGES is one of those movies I have been wanting to see since it came out, but never got to. You’d think I’d have gotten there by now. Instead, here is a review of McDonagh’s second film.

Seven Psychopaths Christopher Walken

I watched SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (2012) on 5.4.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is a movie which is born out of the Tarantino tradition. Big name actors litter the film, often in small parts. The movie brings us criminals doing criminal things. Some are morally reprehensible, others are morally ambiguous, few are morally enviable.

More recently, this is a film which finds some roots in the superior KISS KISS BANG BANG. Shane Black’s 2005 film also featured similar characters, a dark sense of humor, and a Hollywood-meta screenplay. But where KISS KISS BANG BANG is a very tight film, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is a film which managers to meander a bit too much.

Which is not to say it is not good, or is not fun. Colin Farrell is allowed his Irish accent as scriptwriter Marty (named, obviously, after the film’s director). He is writing a screenplay called SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS but, unfortunately, only has a title. This feels like a problem both with the script and within the film, as the seven titular characters are not introduced in the cleanest or tidiest way.

Marty has a buddy named Billy (Sam Rockwell) who’s occupation it is to steal dogs with his business partner Hans (Christopher Walken), wait for rewards to be posted, and then return them for money. They end up stealing the tiny dog of a major criminal, Charlie (Woody Harrelson) who comes after them guns blazing. Marty is caught in the middle of all of this, fighting off alcoholism and Billy’s quips with equal ineffectiveness.

This movie has some really funny bits, which I won’t ruin here. Some of the plot points come back to matter, some come back even though they don’t matter, and some never really return. Through all of that, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS manages to entertain for most every moment it is on screen. The script is funny, but it doesn’t have the weight or the cohesiveness to make it particularly memorable or something to revisit often.

Like the best Tarantino flicks, this is a bloody and violent affair. Unlike those films, however, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS doesn’t seem to have a point behind all the violence. It makes jokes about killing women but not dogs being a silly Hollywood device, and then follows it. There isn’t particular humor or raw, scary, evil in the violence either. It all feels a bit random and indifferent. One scene, a fantasy scene set against Rockwell telling his vision of a screenplay, enters the right kind of funny uber-violent. The rest of the film is not as good as the construct of it all being fake. That’s the problem with a movie like this: playing the “I’m writing a screenplay” angle as the action unfolds can lead to writing off a lack of ingenuity to the problems with writing the screenplay. In SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, the tough choices are really only made a few times.

Farrell is quite good, Rockwell plays eccentric well, Walken gets to chew some scenery, Harrelson has fun, and Tom Waits has a solid turn as one of the psychopaths. The acting in this isn’t stellar, but noone is really mailing it in. This turns out to be a big fun grab bag, and it is worth visiting once for that reason.




FINAL SCORE: 6.25 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on May 5, 2014.

3 Responses to “johnlink ranks SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (2012)”

  1. Good review. Such a wild, wacky, crazy and funny movie that finds a nice balance between the love for its character, as well as the love for its own sense of style and humor.

  2. Seven Psychopaths was alright for one viewing, I think. I also saw this before I saw In Bruges (which I only saw in March). In Bruges is a lot better than this one in my opinion. Hope you check that one out soon 🙂
    Awesome review!

  3. I like it, but it was an odd film in places.

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