Gunning us down with seven different types of crazy is the awesomely named and luckily also hugely enjoyable ‘Seven Psychopaths’. In this darkly comedic, star-studded tale – the first foray into the Hollywood feature for the director of ‘In Bruges’, the Oscar-winning Martin McDonagh – a struggling LA screen writer with a killer title for his next script as well as a slight drink problem becomes embroiled in the world of gangsters, dog-napping, assassinations and psychopaths as he tries to work out what the hell this next story’s going to be about.
Smartly written with good pacing and creative scenes which verge heavily toward homage territory, this is a fun ride of a movie which grabs you right from the outset, rarely letting up on its delivery of quirky events, interesting characters, sharp dialogue, surrealism and attempts to enlighten – even if they don’t work all the time.
Joining McDonagh again is the brilliant Colin Farrell, starring this time as the drunken screen writer Marty, whose next project ‘Seven Psychopaths’ exists only as a cool name and concept alone – a story about psychopaths that’s not going to be about psycho violence. Helping Marty fill in the blanks for his story whether he likes it or not, is his well-meaning but slightly odd-ball friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell), an out-of-work actor whose dog-napping business with retiree Hans (Christopher Walken) is about to land them all in some very bullet-ridden water when he naps the wrong dog from crazy gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a man who’ll stop at nothing to get back his beloved shih tzu.
With brilliant performances all round from a stellar cast that even features Tom Waits as a rabbit-loving psycho, it’s Walken and Rockwell who really standout in this enjoyably violent and sometimes deep movie. Indeed, as you watch ‘Seven Psychopaths’ you can’t help but feel that much like the struggling protagonist Marty, this film was probably first conceived as an extremely cool title, as a result the film is one in which the narrative of its situations and the structure of Marty’s script itself become entwined, attempting to lift both onto a higher more existential level. Unfortunately this is also where the movie doesn’t totally work, and for all its enjoyable, smart and clever moments, it’s the 2nd half’s attempts to change pace and lift the movie into transcendental territory that doesn’t exactly hit the mark, making this a film which sadly falls foul of thinking it’s cleverer than it actually is. Now don’t get me wrong, this is still a highly enjoyable film which has some genuinely excellent scenes, strong performances and brilliant visuals, but it’s a shame it doesn’t quite reach the ‘True Romance’, ‘Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead’ , Tarantino-esque levels which it aspires to reach, although it does give it a damn good try.
Ultimately those expecting another ‘In Bruges’ will be sorely disappointed, but if you lower your expectations, enjoying it for what it is and not what it tries to be, then you’ll have one hell of an enjoyable ride, and probably one you’ll want to enjoy again.