Film Review : Seven Psychopaths
● By Justin Buettner
Marty, a struggling screenwriter becomes involved in crazy set of circumstances when his best friend Billy kidnaps a gangster’s dog. The two go on the run along with Billy’s dognapping partner Hans as the violent gangster Charlie stops at nothing to get his dog back. While on the run Billy helps Marty finish his script “Seven Psychopaths”, a script that mirrors real life more than Marty knows.
Seven Psychopaths is a movie that revels in being quirky. Director/screenwriter Martin McDonagh knows this style well, as his first film In Burgess featured much of the same dark action comedy. McDonagh casts Colin Farrell in the lead, the same lead he used in his first film, and he knows how to use Colin Farrell well in the straight man role. This role fits Farrell much better than his earlier film this summer Total Recall. While Farrell is sturdy in the leading straight man role what really lifts Seven Psychopaths is its perfect supporting cast.
Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Christopher Walken take turns dominating the screen with their pitch perfect and hilarious portrayals of these crazy characters. It is quite obvious these three actors are quite simply having fun with these roles which in turn is fun to watch. Christopher Walken is the most understated of the trio but perhaps stands out the most as he delivers funny quip after funny quip. His silky smooth deadpan delivery is what makes his appearances on SNL so much fun too. Sam Rockwell shines as the loudmouth in the role of Billy. He acts without much regard to consequences and Rockwell’s manic delivery paired with this character’s outrageous behavior is classic. Woody Harrelson’s hilarious portrayal as the gangster that cares a whole lot more about the life of his dog than any person around him is spot on. Charlie kills people around him at will while he melts into a blubbery mess when he thinks of life without his dog.
If I had a complaint about the movie it would be that it’s too self aware. Unlike films like Snatch and Pulp Fiction where the dark quirky comedy comes across naturally, Seven Psychopaths desperately wants to be quirky and dark and it comes across as forced. So while the results are still funny and the performances strong you can almost see the hands of manipulation at work which ruins the overall effect. If it didn’t come across quite so eager to be different, the edginess of the movie would feel more earned.
The awesome performances alone make the movie worth the price of admission. It does help that Seven Psychopaths has a different styled story and marches along at a decent pace too. While this dark comedy can’t compete with the quality of a Tarintino or Cohen Brother film, who are the finest in the craft of dark comedies, it is still a good movie. Fans of the dark comedy genre will most definitely enjoy Seven Psychopaths as could a general audience because at the very least the movie is fun and entertaining, which is better than most films Hollywood releases.
Films like Seven Psychopaths : Fargo, Pulp Fiction, and In Burgess
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.