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A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu.
At a time when pop culture-savvy assassins run a dime a dozen, In Bruges, the first film from Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, registered as a brilliant anomaly: a literate, mordantly funny hit man movie that didn't lean on the standard Tarantinoisms. (If the director had a cinematic inspiration, it was more likely Stephen Frears's masterful 1984 film The Hit.) Seven Psychopaths, McDonagh's follow-up, strikes a much broader vein, melding parody, self-referential humor, and clever meta-fiction into one big splattery ball. Buckle up, basically. Colin Farrell plays an Irish screenwriter named, er, Martin who is terminally stuck on his latest script, an ultraviolent affair named "Seven Psychopaths." (We mentioned that this is meta, right?) Desperate for an ending, he turns to his lowlife friend (Sam Rockwell) for inspiration. As his new writing partner's suggestions get increasingly detailed, Martin realizes that the insanity is no longer constrained to the page. Tom Waits shows up at one point, because this is the kind of movie that this is. It takes a strong director to hold together this amount of whirling chaos, and McDonagh proves himself up to the task (mostly), with the game work from his leads abetted by vivid supporting turns from Kevin Corrigan, Woody Harrelson, and Harry Dean Stanton, whose brief appearance cries out for a spinoff all of his own. McDonagh's true ace in the hole, though, is Christopher Walken, who is simply astounding as an aging dognapper with one lulu of a backstory. Walken's ability to go way over the top has been well documented, but here he underplays, a decision that ultimately stabilizes the film's hurtling, streaky bursts of inspiration. No matter how goofy the movie around him gets, he's always one step beyond. --Andrew Wright
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But then, the movie is called "Seven Psychopaths", isn't it? Shouldn't that suggest that the film probably wouldn't be enjoyed by those who are easily offended by such things? Those are the sorts of things psychopaths might be likely to indulge in...right?
Sadly, the content of most of the 1- and 2-star reviews seems to suggest that quite a few people didn't make that inference. "I stopped watching because of the repeated use of the f-word." "I couldn't continue watching after they called the one lady the n-word." Etc. etc... These are horrible people we're watching, folks. Of course they're going to offend us.
Oh well, I thought the movie was great. But I'm not about to be like so many other reviewers and list all of the plot details. Spoilers are no fun.
This is a dark comedy. It's certainly not meant to appeal to common sensibilities; most often it's meant to satirize them. It also (quite amusingly) satirizes itself and the general "gangster/revenge drama" genre which it very much knows it fits into (mostly). The movie laughs at itself, it's intentionally absurd at times, but if you stick around and pay attention the payoff is there to be enjoyed.
As a comedy, the film is rather short on laughs, but for fans of director Martin McDonagh's previous film "In Bruges" they will feel right at home with the subtle humor mixed in with surprisingly serious drama. Regardless, Seven Psychopaths proves to be a fun, mad, ride that is beautifully shot and edited and definitely worth a watch.