“There’ll be one guy left with one eye. How’s the last blind guy going to take out the eye of the last guy left who’s still got one eye left? All that guy has to do is run away and hide behind a bush. Ghandi was wrong. It’s just that nobody’s got the balls to come out and say it.” – Billy
Martin McDonagh, director of In Bruges, brings Colin Farrell back for his new film Seven Psychopaths. It has a lot of influences. There are the obvious comparisons to Tarantino, the Coen Brothers, and Adaptation. with a bit of the western genre and some Guy Ritchie thrown in to taste.
McDonagh aims to create a satire of crime films, and does a pretty good job of it. Colin Farrell’s character, Marty, is experiencing writer’s block regarding his screenplay about seven psychopaths. His buddy Billy feeds him ideas for characters and is along for the ride, as well as Billy’s thieving business partner Hans, who steals dogs and then takes the reward. Psychopaths really gets going when they take the Shih Tzu of Charlie, a mob boss.
But like most films in this vein, it can occasionally fall into some of the same traps as the very genre it’s parodying. Charlie is one of the seven psychopaths. Billy feeds Marty the ideas for two psychopaths, who happen to be real people that later show up in Marty’s world. It seems a bit too convenient that all of this is happening, and one of these twists really isn’t a surprise. Further, Marty is trying to write a screenplay that has deeper moral meaning, an idea Hans encourages. The result is in a movie that’s trying to be a lot of things, but doesn’t fully pull any of them off, leaving the product with a disjointed feeling.
These are some problems that should’ve been patched up. Fortunately, there isn’t much else to pick at. The movie keeps your attention throughout. Farrell is as present as needs be, as he is frequently sharing the screen with Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, and Woody Harrelson. Each of these commanding presences does a fantastic job with their screen time, and Rockwell deserves some nominations for his performance. His idea for the ending to Marty’s screenplay is the highlight of Seven Psychopaths. There are a lot of great cameos in the film, ranging from Precious to Tom Waits. Finally, the black comedy isn’t Black Dynamite-levels of consistent hilarity, but it’s definitely got its share of laugh-out-loud moments.
If you’ve got time to sit and pay a bit of attention to this movie, I’d definitely recommend it. Anybody that’s even a moderate fan of movies will enjoy this for what it is.