Pin It
Favorite

Perfectly Crazy 

Seven Psychopaths uses an all-star cast to tell a warped tale

click to enlarge art18486.jpg

The title says it all, just like Snakes on a Plane and Hobo with a Shotgun before it. But what you don’t get a hint of from the title is that Seven Psychopaths is also smartly written and quite funny. Kind of like its hitman-centric predecessor In Bruges, Martin McDonagh’s first film which, likes this one, starred Colin Farrell.

Here Farrell plays Marty, an often-drunk writer who has a great idea for a screenplay, which he’s titled Seven Psychopaths, even before writing it. The catch is that he’s a pacifist, but his script is loaded with violence.

Marty’s accompanied by plenty of pals and acquaintances and an outsider or two, all of which would make fine models for any psychopaths he’s going to write about.

There’s Billy (Sam Rockwell), a struggling actor who pays the rent by dog-napping pooches in the park, then turning them over to Hans (Christopher Walken), who returns the pets to owners who have posted rewards. There’s Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a vicious hood whose cute little Shih Tzu Bonny is being walked in the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s bunny-loving Zachariah (Tom Waits) who is probably the most dangerous character in the cast. The wonderfully warped storyline has Zachariah answering a newspaper ad that calls for psychopaths who think their real-life story might make good fodder for a film script. And let’s not forget the ruthless, red-hooded mystery person known only as the Jack of Diamonds Killer. Actually, that character is difficult to forget, as many appearances are made, always when least expected.

That’s part of the film’s demented sense of humor. Another is the dialogue. In a bit of gentle, never-mean, racist profiling, proudly Irish Marty is confronted with his “Irish” drinking problem. “I don’t have a drinking problem,” he argues. “I just like drinking.”

Farrell delivers those words with perfect comic timing, and he’s not the only one making great use of acting gifts. Waits knows exactly what to do with his great gravelly voice to get someone interested in hearing his Zachariah tell a story. Rockwell has the opportunity to go completely overboard in the shameless acting department during a nighttime cemetery scene.

The film looks great, especially when the action settles into Joshua Tree National Park. You might want to go back and check out the excellent In Bruges before seeing this one. It’ll give you an idea of how writer-director Martin McDonagh likes to match up the very funny with the very bloody. 

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Man and Wife
  • Man and Wife

    Simple, non-heroic love changes the world in Loving
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Grumpy Old Man
  • Grumpy Old Man

    The Magic Lantern Theatre is open again and featuring the delightful A Man Called Ove
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Big Themes
  • Big Themes

    Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
    • Nov 23, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Totally Tubular Tuesday: Holiday Films

Totally Tubular Tuesday: Holiday Films @ Garland Theater

Tue., Dec. 6, Tue., Dec. 13 and Tue., Dec. 20

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Ed Symkus

  • Ode to <i>Joy</i>-less
  • Ode to Joy-less

    This reviewer really, really doesn't like Jennifer Lawrence
    • Dec 23, 2015
  • Winning Reboot
  • Winning Reboot

    Somehow, Arnold's return to the Terminator franchise makes for solid sci-fi
    • Jul 1, 2015
  • Dog of a Story
  • Dog of a Story

    Max wastes a promising idea on forgettable characters
    • Jun 24, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Wanna Rock?

    A slew of '80s glam favorites come to Wreck The Halls of Spokane Arena
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Big Themes

    Disney's Moana is the empowering and fascinating tale we need right now
    • Nov 23, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Review


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • No Country for Old Hipsters
  • No Country for Old Hipsters

    Noah Baumbach explores aging clumsily in While We're Young
    • Apr 15, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation