Directed by: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits
Release Date: October 12, 2012
PLOT: A screenwriter (Farrell) gets entangled with criminals when his crazy friend (Rockwell) kidnaps a gangster’s beloved dog.
WHO’S IT FOR? If you like a bloody good, funny time with character actors ramping up their crazy potential, then you will really enjoy Seven Psychopaths.
With the political season upon us, polls are everywhere. It’s easy to assume a poll being taken for “Most Psychotic Actors” and a few of the notable faces in Seven Psychopaths ending up on the list. Do we actually think they are psychos? No. At least I hope not. Off-kilter? Yes, that’s a shoe that fits for a lot of these guys, and perhaps exactly what makes them so watchable in Seven Psychopaths. Writer and director McDonagh created a great tale with In Bruges and he’s upped his game with this film.
Marty (Farrell) is a struggling, perhaps alcoholic screenwriter who has a title for his next film. That’s where we get our seven psychopaths. He’s creating them, and encountering them. His best friend Billy (Rockwell) is a struggling actor who steals dogs with Hans (Christopher Walken). The reason they steal dogs is it’s easy money. The “easy” part goes out the door when they steal a psycho-killer’s (Harrelson) dog.
At first it seems this movie will be a wham, bam violent action flick with some great dialogue. It’s more, but what’s really surprising is the way it is more. The entire screenplay about a man trying to write a screenplay is very self-referential. At about the halfway part in the film Marty starts to talk about how he doesn’t want violence to be the focus in a film called Seven Psychopaths, and then the film we are watching takes a turn. For a while it seems moments with Abbie Cornish and Olga Kurylenko seem pointless, or like the film isn’t giving the women a chance to play with the boys, but then a perfectly placed line of dialogue from McDonagh makes you realize he is in complete awareness and control with this project.
While Farrell completely shined with In Bruges, here he is willing to take a slight backseat. Walken, Rockwell, Waits and Harrelson are given bigger, funnier, even more serious moments to shine. The supporting cast is fantastic, with two “Empire Boardwalk” actors (Michael Pitt and Michael Stuhlbarg) starting us off with a bang. Gabourey Sidibe and Kevin Corrigan gets their moments as well. Out of all those names, for me this is truly about Rockwell and Walken. I love (like many of you do) these two actors. What I have found is that I don’t have many Rockwell and Walken movies I want to re-watch so I can bathe in their brilliance. Sure, they both have plenty of moments in movies, but they don’t have a ton of good movies where they are at their wacky best in lead roles. Rockwell is so playful as Billy that you tend to root for him no matter what. There is a tiny moment where Rockwell throws a condom. I actually wrote down in my notes, “I could watch Rockwell toss condoms all day long.” Walken now has an old man sadness which makes his line delivery even sweet at times.
The violence is near over-the-top cartoonish. It serves its place in the film, is extreme, but normally has a sense of humor behind it. If you can handle that, you’re in for a treat. Now, instead of typing in Sam Rockwell: Dancing Machine on Youtube, I have this movie I can watch. Now, instead of going to old “Saturday Night Live” clips to see Walken, I have this movie I can watch. McDonagh found the right tone, and the right actors. Seven Psychopaths is crazy good.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10