Seven Psycopaths

Oct 16, 2012

Zany characters in a bizarre story equal an amusing experience.

Grade: B
Director: Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)
Screenplay: McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell (In Bruges), Woody Harrelson (Zombieland)
Rating: R
Runtime: 109 min.
by John DeSando

“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” Hans (Christopher Walken)
“No, it doesn't. There'll be one guy left with one eye. How's the last blind guy gonna take out the eye of the last guy left?”  Billy (Sam Rockwell)

The above dialogue characterizes an absurdist comedy/thriller in which not one really bright person appears; most are slightly off-center, non-intellectual psychopaths and an author, Martin (Colon Farrell), who may or may not be thinking up the murders and the characters. No matter, because the meta story is about creating the environment and characters for a pulp story about psychopaths, seven to be exact.

A  Pulp Fiction air is present with seven stories woven together, and a zany Tarantinoesque attitude seems to touch each major character. I’m not surprised the story is dark and witty because I had the same amusing experience with director Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, also starring Colin Farrell.

Standing out among many accomplished actors is Christopher Walken as Hans, a small-time hood who kidnaps well-to-do dogs for their rewards. Walken abjures his usual self parody to craft a melancholic, amusing crook, who adores his dying wife and has some rather bizarre notions about psychos and gays, among others.
The talented Sam Rockwell as Martin’s buddy tries to help him through his writer’s block, just a little too helpful I might say. He’s a purest about the Seven Psychopaths script, right to the end, which he feels must be a shootout of classical dimensions.

Nothing in this movie is classical or clichéd: It’s a sometimes hilarious, sometimes nonsensical parody of thrillers we have known and loved. Seven Psychopaths should be loved for its light touch and heavy-duty acting.

John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at
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