FILM: Seven Psychopaths
Writer/director Martin McDonagh returns after the brilliant In Bruges with a film that treads even further into the realm of black comedy. Screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) spends more time drinking than brainstorming, and he finds himself stuck when trying to come up with his latest movie, also called Seven Psychopaths. Eager to help is his unemployed actor best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), who makes his living stealing dogs with his friend Hans (Christopher Walken) before returning the pooches to their owners to get rewards. Unfortunately, Charlie (Woody Harrelson) would rather go on a violent rampage to get his Shih Tzu back. Oh, and a mob-targeting serial killer is on the loose.
Marty wants his Seven Psychopaths to ultimately be about love; Billy thinks it should be more about explosions and violence. McDonagh’s film unites the two extremes in a wonderfully meta way. We see glimpses of the psychopaths that Marty writes about, including a former Vietcong hellbent on revenge and a Quaker determined to torture his daughter’s killer, but we also meet the crazy people in Marty’s own world. Tom Waits nearly steals the show in a brief but spooky turn as a bunny-cuddling serial killer who makes Dexter look timid. The premise would be more difficult to buy if the casting and script weren’t so perfect. Farrell starred in McDonagh’s In Bruges and plays the distressed straight man well to Rockwell’s increasingly unbalanced protagonist. Plus Walken gets to play out a peyote-induced scene. What isn’t there to love?
It’s so difficult to avoid spoilers because the elements of this film fit together so tightly. If you like dark humor and don’t mind seeing a head explode (and trust me, in context, it’s pretty funny), definitely go see this movie and stay a minute or two into the credits. As the lights were coming up, I thought, ‘the one thing that would make this movie better…’ only to be interrupted by that exact scene playing out. McDonagh covers all his bases to make this one of my top movies of the year.