Martin McDonagh, among the best known Irish directors previously won an Oscar for the short movie Six shooter A Collection of 2005 Academy Award Nominated Short Films although he is perhaps best known for the acclaimed In Brugesalso starring Colin Farrell, a dark comedy with tragic overtones about two hitmen on the run.
I first heard of this movie last year when I saw the movie The Guard directed by his brother Michael John. A trademark of the McDonaghs is dark humor mixed with some irony and perhaps even some philosophy together with some absurdity. As I loved The Guard so much and it has the biggest domestic box office of any Irish movie ever made, I looked forward to this latest movie with more than a little anticipation.
If you're like me and like American directors who also write such as Tarantino with Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill, or the Coen Brothers with No Country for Old Men, I think you will also like this.
Seven Psychopaths centers around an Irish screenwriter nemed Martin played by Colin Farrell planning to write a movie about seven psychopaths. Life begins to imitate art as a similar tableau to the one he writes about starts to unfold in real life.
Woody Harrelson plays Sam a local organised crime leader whose dog is kidnapped by Walken and Sam Rockwell's character who happen to be friends of Martin. Sam cares more about dogs than people. The real mixes with the imaginary in very intriguing ways, and kept the movie audience entertained. I particularly liked the scenes with the Vietnamese priest and the hooker, and the Quaker story. There is also a hit man with a white rabbit played by Tom Waits.
The revelatory performance in this movie comes from Sam Rockwell when he helps out Martin with the screenplay lending some psychotic absurdity to the scenes although everyone is excellent.
What I like is that McDonagh while clearly inspired by Tarantino and Coen imposes his unique style and does not kowtow to Hollywood conventions and delivers a movie that experiments with different styles of humor and yet manages to engross you so much in the moment that you do not attempt to guess the end. If you do you would probably guess wrong.
I love how he works the opening scene with two hitmen discussing preparing for a hit and how the scene turns out.
While I would not consider this better than say In Bruges there is a certain heaviness in the theme of In Bruges that is not present here and some people may prefer the more light hearted nature of this movie which is a highly welcome and worthy addition to the McDonagh repertoire.
I hope the McDonagh brothers will work together as I think they could give the Coen brothers a run for their money.
I think you will love it and I hope this was helpful.
Some 3-4 years ago, director Martin McDonagh teamed up with Colin Farrell in an absurd but very funny crime comedy called "In Bruges". I loved that movie (and not just because it was filmed in the Belgian city of Bruges, where I spent my high school years). Now comes another crime comedy from the same team.
"Seven Psychopaths" (2012 release; 110 min.) brings the story of Marty (played by Farrell), a struggling writer who is working on a movie script called "Seven Psychopaths". His buddy Billy (played by Sam Rockwell) is volunteering to help in any way possible. At some point Billy steals a little dog, and only later do we learn that the dog's owner is Charlie (played by Woody Harrelson), a dangerous gangster who is out for revenge. Last, but certainly not least, there is Hans (played by Christopher Walken), a buddy of Billy's. There are a bunch of smaller characters in the movie. To be honest, I had a hard time keeping track of the multitude of characters, and the fact that part of the movie is a recreation of the script that Marty is writing. A script within the script, so to speak. After a while I simply let go of it all, and just watched the movie for what it is, regardless of the actual or percieved plot lines: another absurd (and I do mean that as a compliment) crime drama.
Couple of side comments: with apologies to Colin Farrell, but in my opinion Sam Rockwell steals the movie. His acting is sharp and he brings his character in a way that made me smile if not laugh out loud, just by seeing him. I also was surprised to see that this movie is not just playing at the art house here in Cincinnati (where I saw it), but also at a number of mainstream mulitplexes. The movie was not very well attended when I saw it this past weekend, and I can't imnagine that a dark and violent movie like this one, even with plenty of humor and comedy, will be a big hit, but I could be wrong of course. Bottom line is this: if you liked "In Bruges", which in style and approach is very similar to this one, you will love "Seven Psychopaths". If you found that "In Bruges" was not your cup of tea, save yourself the trouble and don't bother with this.
This is director (and writer) Martin McDonagh's third film and first since the very good "In Bruges" from 2008. A pair of small time con men (Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken) specializes in stealing dogs, then returning them for the reward. Billy's (Rockwell) best friend Marty (Colin Farrell) is a wannabe screenwriter who only has the title for his movie (Seven Psychopaths) and a broad idea for a story. Marty's biggest problem seems to be that he's drunk all the time.
Billy offers to help him with the story but Marty is intent on doing it himself. Figuring he can give Marty some ideas, Billy runs an ad in a local trade paper, looking for reformed psychos to come in for an interview. Yeah, the film is full of craziness. This allows the always entertaining Tom Waits to show up as Zachariah, one of the seven psychos.
The films dognapping element becomes critical as Billy and Hans (Walken) kidnap a shih-tzu belonging to, yep, psycho crime lord Charlie (Woody Harrelson). There is nobody better than Walken when it comes to playing offbeat characters and he doesn't disappoint. While everybody makes contributions, this is Rockwell's movie. His character is interesting, funny and provocative. So is the movie. It is a bit complicated, so you have to pay attention. It is also extremely violent and the violence is pretty much just laughed away. Such is this wonderful dark comedy. It's absurd, messy, witty, smart and wildly entertaining. One of the best of the year.
Being a big fan of "In Bruges," getting excited for writer, director, and now producer Martin McDonagh's latest film "Seven Psychopaths" was like second nature. "In Bruges" is begging for a revisit, but it added a lot of humor to hitmen and crime situations that usually try to be gritty or as serious as humanly possible in films before it. "In Bruges" had this uniqueness to it and "Seven Psychopaths" is even more creative and hilarious in comparison.
A struggling screenwriter named Marty (Colin Farrell) has an idea for his next screenplay; a movie entitled "Seven Psychopaths." The problem is Marty is having difficulty coming up with the actual story or the psychopaths for that matter and his alcoholism often gets the better of him. His strange best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), who kidnaps dogs with a religious man named Hans (Christopher Walken) and returns them to get the reward, has extreme interest in helping Marty write his story. What Marty doesn't count on is Billy putting an ad in the newspaper that opens the door for all sorts of crazy individuals to contact him and know where he lives. Marty's thrown into a world he's never dreamt of because of it.
If you've seen the poster for this, it portrays Olga Kurylenko and Abbie Cornish as two of the seven psychopaths. Ignore this. They maybe have eight minutes of screen time between the two of them and other than being the girlfriends of a few of the main characters are mostly completely irrelevant to everything else going on. The opening of the film is extraordinary; mostly because the appearance of "Boardwalk Empire" alumni Michael Stuhlbarg and Michael Pitt was completely unexpected. Their "shot through the eyeball" conversation immediately sets the messy and eccentric tone of the film.
The original aspect of "Seven Psychopaths" resides in its writing. Marty is writing a movie called "Seven Psychopaths" during a film you're watching with the same name. The entire sequence where Marty, Billy, and Hans go out into the middle of nowhere to write the movie is incredible. Not only is it massively entertaining, but it gives you a number of different scenarios of how the film could play out and how Marty will decide to end his version of the movie. It's as if it shatters the fourth wall and then just keeps running for several miles.
There's also this hilarious sense of logic throughout the entire comedy. Sam Rockwell is the funniest he's ever been. He acts a bit off, but everything that comes out of his mouth is just hysterical. His version of how Marty's movie should end is his shining moment, but he steals the show whenever he's on screen or opens his mouth. Nearly every conversation is just absurd though, but it's so absurd that it makes way too much sense. The phrase, "That's just crazy enough to work!" was meant for this film.
The rest of the cast isn't wasted either. It's interesting that Mickey Rourke was originally supposed to portray Charlie since Woody Harrelson fits the role so well. His obsession with his dog makes the Charlie character completely unpredictable. Christopher Walken is really superb. He makes Hans seem so much more interesting than he really is and his rambling is often the voice of reason or so dry that it's laugh out loud funny. Tom Waits as Zachariah is captivating because of his backstory and fascination with bunnies. His motives along with his after credit sequence are just written so unusually that it's amusing.
There really isn't anything else out there like "Seven Psychopaths." If that Marvel movie about "Deadpool" ever gets off the ground, you can imagine it to be a lot like this; people getting killed left and right, blood everywhere, ridiculously hilarious conversations in between and during, and the entire experience leaving a smile on your face. There's also quite a bit buried beneath the laughs and the killing; the question of whether the afterlife is real and peace being more important than war. This comedy has a very sentimental center that catches you a bit off-guard, especially when it comes to the emotional ending. "Seven Psychopaths" is an automatic contender for the funniest and most original comedy of the year.
Martin McDonagh made his feature film debut when he wrote and directed the improbable hit man black comedy "In Bruges" in 2008. "Seven Psychopaths" bears his signature violence, political incorrectness, and dark humor. A mystery assassin known as the "Jack of Diamonds Killer" is running around Los Angeles killing criminally violent people. Meanwhile Marty (Colin Farrell), a frustrated screenwriter, is stuck partway through a storyline that was given to him by his friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), partner of Hans (Christopher Walken) in a dog-kidnapping racket. Billy and Hans steal dogs from rich people and return them for a reward. But this time Billy has kidnapped Bonny, a Shih Tzu belonging to Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson), a violent single-minded gangster who really wants his dog back...and who may have met his match in Billy.
McDonagh's films can never be accused of being hackneyed. This is a fresh, thoughtful, multi-layered satire. It's violent. It's very funny at times. But "Seven Psychopaths" is so thematically complex and reflexive that I often felt that McDonagh was overthinking the whole thing. Reflexive to the point of self-mockery, placing revenge narratives within revenge narratives, satirizing violent movies and their audience while exploiting them to make a point, the film is certainly clever. But perhaps it is more clever than good. Its comment on revenge is strange and a little inscrutable. Sam Rockwell plays Billy's crazy character to great effect. But the racial component is also strange, and the whole exercise is so crowded with ideas that it loses coherence. Sometimes McDonagh hits the mark with his brash dialogue. Other times, he falls flat.
"You're the one who thought psychopaths were so interesting. They're kind of tiresome after a while, don't you think?" says Hans to Marty. And that is, ironically, the idea behind a film about seven psychopaths. Original and occasionally shocking, "Seven Psychopaths" is not for the easily offended. Unfortunately, it suffers from too much of a good thing, and a lot of redundancy, packed into a super-violent dark satire that gets unbearably serious at times. I love the cast, and they give some gutsy performances. Making movies about movies is always tricky, but stripping half the material out might have made a better film. There are no bonus features on the regular DVD (Sony 2013). Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, and Spanish.
Seven Psychopaths is a hard film to review. To describe the plot details would be to ruin the film, plus-it's not the easiest film to really write a synopsis for. I'll try to keep it simple: Screenplay writer struggling to come up with a story for his latest movie gets help with the plot from a good friend of his, who also happens to be a dog nabber. One day he nabs the wrong pooch-a little shih tzu named Bonnie who happens to belong to a really dangerous guy. Stuff happens, bad stuff ensues. The name of the film comes into play throughout, but again, I won't spoil what each psychopath stands for. This film clearly wants to be comedic in nature, but it has quite a few dramatic moments that don't really feel out of place. There is LOTS of blood, gore and violence. Some of it almost seems for violence sake, but you get a sense of what this film will be like from the very first moments. Someone reviewed and stated it was 'all nudity'. I think I can maybe think of one scene in the whole movie that had any nudity and it really wasn't all that lurid. I don't know what that person was watching, but it wasn't this.
The movie looks great in Blu-ray and sounds great too. It's filled to the brim with great actors and each one brings their own thing to the table. Yes, some of it is overacting but here it works quite well. There are some twists and surprises, some a tad predictable, but I thought it was an interesting film. Not to be taken seriously. People who enjoy dark comedies, and don't mind violence will get a kick out of this. Again, a few people are complaining about a lack of plot. Not every plot has to be linear and full of thousands of details. I am usually pretty picky with films but couldn't really find anything major to complain about. Just a bunch of cool actors clearly having a grand time on film. Give it a shot!
Back a few years ago, a writer/director by the name of Martin McDonagh emerged very heavily on the cinematic stage with the extremely black comedy IN BRUGES. It was hilariously funny, shockingly violent, utterly absurd at points as well as surprisingly human and touching. It also gave Colin Farrell possibly his best role ever. And with such an excellent film between them, what could they possibly do that could live up to the expectations set by that film?
They could reteam and make SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, and it really does live up to the expectations.
SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS primarily follows Martin (Farrell), a screenwriter in Hollywood trying desperately to write his newest script which he calls "Seven Psychopaths". His best friend is Billy (Sam Rockwell), a struggling actor who runs a dog-kidnapping... excuse me, dog-borrowing business on the side with his partner Hans (Christopher Walken) in which they find wealthy dog-owners, take the dogs, and return them for the reward money. Unfortunately for all involved, they end up taking the wrong person's dog, and that person is Mr. Costello (Woody Harrelson), a crime boss who loves his little Shih Tzu above all other things. A brutal and deadly pursuit begins for Costello as he tries to retrieve his dog, while Martin becomes embroiled in this mad scheme. All the while, Martin is coming up with ideas for more psychopaths to use in his film, and also meeting them via an ad that Billy put in the paper specifically for psychopaths to tell their story to Martin, and one of those is the bunny-petting Zachariah (Tom Waits), who has quite the tale to tell. Lines between life and art start to gradually blur as the inevitable confrontation between the dog-nappers and the dog-napped comes ever closer.
Like IN BRUGES, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS treads the very thin line between tragedy and comedy with some absolutely devastating moments, but then somehow finds a way to make itself the funniest film I've seen this year with some absolutely masterful performances that will likely be forgotten when Awards Season kicks off. Sam Rockwell continues his streak of scene-stealing performances as Billy, who is rightly considered one of the seven psychopaths of the title. Colin Farrell is forced to play straight man to the likes of Rockwell and Walken and does a nicely nuanced job of it. Harrelson is menacing and violently unpredictable enough to be a good villain, but also his obsessive love of his dog makes his bad guy increasingly absurd and funny. Waits does a really nice job with what must be a fun role to play and a really interesting character to watch. Also appearing in the film are Abbie Cornish as Martin's on-off girlfriend, Linda Bright Clay as Hans' wife and Olga Kurlyenko as Billy's secret girlfriend. This is really the only problem that I had with the film is that the female characters are largely ignored or marginalized, but there may be method to McDonagh's madness as there is a conversation in the film about Martin's screenplay lacking anything beyond one-dimensional female characters (which likely speaks to the metatext of the entire film). But when all is said and truly done, it's Walken who walks away with this picture. It's a performance of wit, sensitivity, genuine humanity, some menace and if nothing else, the "put your hands up" scene is something that will be in the annals of film comedy history.
There are so many moments of high humor in this film, it's hard to enumerate them, but what's perhaps most important about this film is the discussion about the film as the film is going on between its characters. Billy sees this whole story AS a film, and Martin looks to include stories from the film in his film. The film becomes a semi-satire of itself as it goes on, much like Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's THE CABIN IN THE WOODS. As that film provided a metatextual satire of horror film conventions, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS offers up satire of the post-Tarantino crime genre, with philosophical hitmen, final shootouts, Mexican standoffs, etcetera. McDonagh makes all of the film's drama, comedy and action work with a wink in its eye and gallows humor in its heart.
It's also important to know that if you liked IN BRUGES, then in all likelihood, you will really enjoy this film. But if you didn't care for IN BRUGES, you probably won't like this film. SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, like IN BRUGES, does have some pretty massive tonal shifts from hilarious comedy to gut-wrenching tragedy and that can be hard to swallow for some audiences. It may not seem like it, but that is important to take into account.
SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is one of those rare great films that succeeds on all the levels it reaches for, but is strange enough to leave you wondering long after the credits roll... and believe me, STAY FOR THE CREDITS. It's the perfect coda to a film like this.
on July 18, 2015
Amazing movie, love every minute of it... contains almost every element you can think of: violence, philosophy, comedy, poignancy, action et al. The biggest surprise was the humor - I was expecting subtle ironic laughs, but this is genuinely historical - I mean fits of giggles funny - so many classic one-liners it needs a second viewing to catch them all. It's pretty much a male cast, and each is superb/flawless - Christopher Walken's character has spiritual power and a quirky stubbornness "put your hands up... no... why?... I don't want to... but I have a gun... yeah, I know" - Sam Rockwell is awesome as the goofball psycho, Woody Harrelson just has the mean, vicious, bad guy down so well now, but here he adds the comedy brilliantly: "my guns jammed again... you need to get a new one boss... but I like the blue handle" - Colin Farrell, pulls off the alcoholic, confused writer, (who is also the only character living on the edge of his nerves) perfectly - he wants to write a movie about a Buddhist, pacifist psychopath - so no wonder he's stuck - he toys with changing the main character to Amish or Quaker - he basically wants to write a gentle movie but is stuck with a great title "Seven Psychopaths" ... and it all flows from there. This movie has an absurdly crammed plot but never once does it lose itself or become incoherent - genius on the part of the writer/director - it's also evident that this is a British movie set in the USA, the way it handles itself is so NOT Hollywood - thankfully!!!!
on February 3, 2013
Writer-director Martin McDonagh arrived on the scene with his brilliant "In Bruges" a few years ago. It was different and heralded a unique new sensibility on the cinematic scene. "Seven Psychopaths" is no less audacious but may teeter a little by the weight of it's quirkiness. The conceit here is Irish screenwriter, Marty(Colin Farell) is blocked in delivering a script to his employers. He has a title, "Seven Psychopaths", and a concept of a Buddhist psychopath but nothing has been transferred from pen to paper. Ironically a couple associates of his Billy (Sam Rockwell) and Hans(Christopher Walken) have kidnapped the beloved Shih Tzu of a psychotic thug, Charlie (Woody Harrelson). Marty finds himself waist deep in psychopaths while he bounces ideas about the subject with Billy and Hans. The film has an interesting structure but sometimes you think McDonagh may be biting off more than he can chew. You know you're not in Kansas anymore when Christopher Walken is the most normal guy in the room. That said the film leaves an impression on you that it may gain momentum on repeat viewings. As it stands I give the film an A for effort and a B for execution.
on August 27, 2015
I was curious to see this after having very much enjoyed the director's previous film IN BRUGES, which also featured Colin Farrell. While both films share some similar thematic points or character qualities, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is a bit more meandering in terms of unfolding it story-line. It's one of those "Hollywood' set screwball comedies with a few graphic bursts of violence and craziness. Christopher Walken is very good in it, but his performance doesn't feel like much of a stretch for him. The character he played felt written for what we would expect him to act like anyway. Tom Waits has a fun cameo in it. He plays a variation on a Dexter like serial killer. I like the cast overall and it's (mostly) fun to hang out with them for the duration. Sam Rockwell is the crazy funny guy with Farrell acting mainly as the straight man here, Woody Harrelson is entertaining as a very angry mob guy who loves his little dog. It's a fun film but nowhere even close to as good as IN BRUGES which is just terrific IMO. Both films share a sense of humor that is very dark, but the earlier film delivers on the set-up in a way this one falls short of. If you enjoy movies set around L.A. withe a lot odd ball characters, and leavened with bits of over the top nastiness, you'll perhaps like this.