Feb 20, 2013

Movie Review: Seven Psychopaths

Marty Faranan (Colin Farrell) is a writer struggling to find inspiration for his newest book. His best friend, Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) tries to coax him into writing about psychopaths, inspired by recent events in the news and stories Billy's heard. Billy's own job involves running a con with Hans Kieslowski (Christopher Walken) where they stealthily kidnap dogs from an affluent dog park, then when they see the owners offering a reward turn up to collect the reward looking as innocent as apple pie. Unfortunately, Hans and Billy unknowingly kidnap a Shih Tzu being walked by a helping hand to one of the most vicious criminal kingpins in town - Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson). Charlie wants his dog back, and he is not a forgiving man.

The casting for this film was terrific and the actors really play well off of each other. While Collin Farrell gets a ton of press for being a good looking action star, seeing him in a cowardly passive role is a vast but believably played difference from playing Bullseye in Daredevil. Christopher Walken gives one of the most emotional and humane performances of a character I've seen from in a long time. Woody Harrelson obviously knows how to play a psychopath and is just as fun as a villain as he is as the hero Tallahassee in Zombieland. Sam Rockwell on the other hand should be noted for stealing the film. There is an indescribable "it factor" about Sam Rockwell that makes me want to see him in a million more movies. I loved him in Iron Man 2, he blew me away in Moon, and he was a wonderfully well-rounded and entertaining character in Seven Psychopaths.

The story was fun, entertaining and never slow. There were scenes that evoked laughs, scenes that evoked a sense of tension, and scenes that evoked sorrow. You really connect with the main characters in this film and feel bad for them when times are tough. However, the same can't be said for any of the side characters, which basically make up everyone outside of the four headliners, with the exception of Tom Waits' character, Zachariah Rigby. But Martin McDonagh, writer and director of Seven Psychopaths is also aware of it and fesses up to it through the film in a comedic meta sense of humor. I can't go further into details without spoiling anything, but a lot of the criticism mentioned in the film of Marty Faranan's work plays out through the movie.

While the story absolutely worked, and had everything I could have wanted from a movie, I felt like the trailer is very misleading. This is a comedic action film, and there are references to seven psychopaths, but unlike how the trailer presents the film the two girls are not part of that list. In fact, one of the psychopaths is even fictional. Others psychopaths presented are complete background characters that you only see glimpses of their past psychopathic behavior through flashback. A strange marketing ploy, but it doesn't really take anything away from the film. Overall rating...

4 / 5