“Seven Psychopaths” serves up a veritable smorgasbord of crazed killers
Note: Today’s guest reviewer is artist, photographer and filmmaker Chris Daly, who recently directed a music video for local country band Red Eye Junction. Check out his portfolio here.
In Martin McDonagh’s first film, “In Bruges,” we got a taste of nasty, foul-mouthed, suicidal murderers.
In “Seven Psychopaths,” his sophomore effort, we get the whole smorgasbord.
Right off the bat, the film opens on two hitmen waiting for their target to appear. They discuss their nervousness in detail, but it is clear they’ve done this thing before. Are we being introduced to our first two psychopaths?
Hold on a second. Before their mark shows up, this pair of dimwits is gunned down by a man they would have seen coming — if they’d just turned around. And so we meet our first psychopath, the mysterious Jack O’ Diamonds Killer.
This leads us to Marty (Colin Farrell), an Irish screenwriter with a drinking problem.
Marty’s latest script, aptly titled “Seven Psychopaths” is having trouble getting off the ground.The only psychopath Marty has come up with so far is a Quaker (Harry Dean Stanton), who patiently waits his whole life to get revenge for the slaying of his daughter.
So his best friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell, perfectly cast), suggests that he write about the Jack O’ Diamonds Killer from the papers.
Billy and his friend, Hans (Christopher Walken) encounter another psychopath through their side business — kidnapping dogs and returning them to their owners for reward money.
Everything runs smoothly until they kidnap the wrong Shih Tzu, which belongs to a sadistic, out-of-his-mind gangster (Woody Harrelson). This man’s relentless quest to retrieve his dog could be compared to mop-topped villain Antoine Chigurh’s malicious pursuit of stolen money in “No Country for No Old Men.”
That’s only three psychopaths, you say? Don’t worry. Before this journey’s end, we’ll be treated to tales of serial killers, a vengeful Vietnamese priest and probably the most over-the-top movie shoot out I’ve seen in years.
“Seven Psychopaths” is a film that lives up to its name. The characters, whether big or small, all seem to have more than just one screw loose. The real story here, however, is writer/director Martin McDonagh and his career path.
Given the success of “In Bruges” — coupled with the popularity of “The Guard” a 2011 sleeper hit written and directed by his brother, John Michael McDonagh — it’s no surprise that Hollywood should haven taken note of McDonagh.
What’s a talented foreign director to do when given a big budget and big-name stars? Roll over and let the studios tell him what how they do things in this town? Not Martin McDonagh.
Instead, McDonagh gives Hollywood a hilarious gut punch of a film — relying on his strengths to write charming yet innocent villains who we love best when they’re saying the wrong thing.
“Seven Psychopaths” may slow a little halfway through, but the movie’s characters always have a trick up their sleeves. Or perhaps behind a cravat.
“Seven Psychopaths” image courtesy of MovieWeb.com.
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