Seven Psychopaths is not what you think it’s going to be.
You have no idea how crazy of a ride writer/director Martin McDonagh’s new flick is. McDonaugh, who previously brought us the 2008 dark comedy In Bruges, once again takes us down a dark and humorous path of crime. The movie centers around Marty (Colin Farrell), an alcoholic screenwriter in Hollywood trying to write his next big movie, and his best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), an aspiring actor who moonlights on the side with Hans (Christopher Walken) stealing dogs for reward money from their owners. On one of their typical dog-knappings they end up stealing the wrong man’s dog.
Enter Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a gangster who will stop at nothing to get his dog back. This mistake sets off the premise and characters into unknown territories with some absolutely funny and violent results.
What stands out the most about the movie is the sheer talent from Farrell, Rockwell, and Walken. These three actors are absolutely brilliant in this movie, each bringing their own darkness and comedic timing to an already great script. At one point, they have to hide out in the desert where they each have a “finding yourself moment”. While sitting around the campfire, each one brings something so awesome to the table that it makes you want to see all three of them together again in future movies. All actors are at the height of their game, which shows how much they must have enjoyed making this movie. You can see it in the acting, they’re all having a good time, which makes the audience have a better time watching them.
Rounding out the cast is Woody Harrelson and Tom Waits, who are as equally amazing as their characters are crazy. Woody plays the typical gangster, one that shoots first and asks questions later. He has a slightly abnormal attachment to his Shih Tzu, Bonnie, which he will do anything for. Tom Waits plays a different kind of crazy: a soft talking, slightly off-kilter man who likes to carry around a pet rabbit and just stare. You feel uncomfortable watching him, just as Farrell’s character does. Both actors bring more greatness to an already great movie and cast.
McDonagh’s writing is fast paced and well practiced, and his love for this film is evident in every word. As a writer, he definitely has a great understanding of the written word and knows how to use it in all the right spots to maximum effect. He deals with some dark subject matter of the human psyche and makes you wonder what goes on in his head late at night. Because the movie deals with screenwriting, McDonagh has many little subtle jabs at the Hollywood system. Where a less talented writer would have made the jabs more over-the-top and obvious, McDonagh takes his time. He makes you work for it, sometimes making it so that you don’t even realize you’re in the middle of a really hard jab at Hollywood until the actors are halfway though the scene. I really feel that we have only scratched the surface in terms of seeing McDonagh’s ability as a writer, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of his creative work in the future.
Seven Psychopaths contains some seriously dark subject matter and violence that is perfectly mixed in with McDonagh’s own brand of humor. He makes great use of the talent that he has at his disposal and knows when and where to use them correctly. That being said, Seven Psychopaths is not the movie you think it is, nor is it the movie you want; it’s better. Try to keep an open mind and don’t pay too close attention to the ads and posters. Go in blind and let it wash over you. You’ll have a much better time and thank yourself in the end.