Film Review: Seven Psychopaths (Momentum Pictures; 2012)


The critically acclaimed partnership of Martin McDonagh and Colin Farrell that brought us In Bruges returns with Seven Psychopaths. Except, instead of the brilliant British cinema supporting cast of Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes that In Bruges gave, we now have an American equivalent with the equally exceptional Christopher Walken   and Woody Harrelson.

Farrell plays Marty Faranan, a struggling Irish screenwriter trying to finish his masterpiece: “Seven Psychopaths”. Faranan soon gets the inspiration he craves when his dogknapping friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) and his accomplice Hans steal Mob boss Charlie Costello's (Harrelson) beloved shih tzu, and are all thrown in to a world of gangsters, dogs, and seemingly inevitable death.

The film is just fantastic. Funny, exciting, and pretty sick at times, it doesn't disappoint in any real way. The phrase “just as good as In Bruges” could be used a lot in this review, but, honestly, it is actually a little better.

The cinematography is one thing that is just as good. Like In Bruges, it has a style similar to that seen in Rob Zombie's work, with a clear influence from film noir and grindhouse productions. The screenplay is awesome in every sense of the word. It is hilarious, with conversation scenes that would not standout in a Tarantino production. It is this Tarantino-esque tone to the film that is great. Great because it works, but also great because McDonagh isn't hiding the fact that he has clearly been influenced by the legendary director. McDonagh marries this influence with his own brand of twisted humour to give an end result that impresses constantly throughout.

Farrell is great, and I'm sure many people will consider him to have provided the standout performance. But for me, that came from Christopher Walken. He is able to be creepy, hilarious, and quite eccentric without confusing his character or making him unlikeable.

All in all, Seven Psychopaths is a success. No, it probably won't win any Oscars, and no, it won't be held in history as a landmark film in a pretentious “100 Greatest…” list, but, that's the way these things work. Seven Psychopaths is easily a better film than others held in high regard in 2012, such as Argo or Silver Linings Playbook, but productions of this nature are unfortunately not “Oscar material”. Unlike child friendly rip offs of Battle Royale or Peter Jackson's 169 minutes of ruining one of the greatest books ever written. Let the Oscar season begin! Seven Psychopaths does what it says on the tin. It is a  dark comedy that will charm you and win you over in minutes before leaving you to wonder why Martin McDonagh isn't one of the most sought after writers in Hollywood.


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