Film Review: Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths
About Seven Psychopaths (2012)
Seven PsychopathsIrish filmmaker Martin McDonagh writes and directs this crime caper. Colin Farrell leads the cast as Marty, a struggling screenwriter who finds himself entangled with the least desirable elements of the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his best friend Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) carries out an ill-fated dognapping scheme, stealing a Shih Tzu belonging to sadistic criminal kingpin Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson). Christopher Walken, Tom Waits and Abbie Cornish co-star.

Starring: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits

Directed by: Martin McDonagh

Runtime: 110 minutes

Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Review: Seven Psychopaths

A fantastic line up awaits you in Seven Psychopaths as Colin Farrell portrays Marty, a screenwriter with a deadline. He has the title for his film but nothing else. Good start! Thankfully he has best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) on hand to offer some advice and inspiration. Billy is involved in a scam with his partner Hans (Christopher Walken), which involves kidnapping dogs before returning them to their owners to claim the reward money. While Billy is often vulgar and a bit of a loose cannon, Hans is utterly devoted to his wife, Myra (Linda Bright Clay), who is in hospital being treated for cancer.

Marty’s problems mount with his incessant drinking which ends his relationship with his girlfriend but worse follows when Billy and Hans kidnap a Shih Tzu named Bonnie. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but the dog just happens to belong to violent gangster, Charlie (Woody Harrelson), who will stop at nothing to find and recover the dog. With Marty in the midst of a real-life crime saga will he find inspiration for his script after all, or are he, Billy and Hans all going to be hunted down and killed by the vengeful Charlie?

Seven Psychopaths is very violent in places but it is also really funny. Farrell is amusing as the often drunk Irish writer but he is inferior to the naive and unpredictable Sam Rockwell as Billy, whose every action seems to get him, Marty and Hans into even more trouble. However, the film really belongs to both Walken and Harrelson for me. Harrelson is effectively malevolent as Charlie but also rather pitiful in that the mere mention of Bonnie reduces him to tears. Walken, as I’ve so often seen, delivers an effortlessly good performance, offering a funny and sometimes poignant Hans, with his general philosophy on life towards the end well worth the wait.

Seven Psychopaths benefits from a great cast, a funny script and some memorable set-pieces for the protagonists. Very violent in places and often vulgar, this may not be to everyone’s taste but it’s certainly a fun and innovative way of trying to come up with an idea for a movie, though I suspect the majority of screenwriters will stick with the writing at a desk approach. I know I will!

Verdict: 4/5

(Film source: reviewer’s own copy)

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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