Seven Psychopaths

2013-04-12 15:24
 
Seven Psychopaths
What it's about:

A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu.
 
What we thought:

Is Seven Psychopaths a quirky film?

One of its characters is a bunny loving eccentric who was formerly one of a pair of road-tripping murderers. And he's played by Tom Waits. Hoo boy, you better believe this is a quirky film.

The more important question is whether it's worth your time and I'm sorry to say that it probably isn't. Seeing as it comes from Martin McDonagh (whose previous film, In Bruges was so well received) you'd expect the answer to be more positive, but no, I think Seven Psychopaths falls pretty short of his debut effort.

The plot is as convoluted as can be. Colin Farrell plays Marty, a screenwriter based in LA who is struggling his way through a script called Seven Psychopaths. His friend, Billy, played by Sam Rockwell, is a struggling actor, who makes his money kidnapping dogs with Hans (Christopher Walken) for a partner. Things get complicated when they kidnap the beloved dog of Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a local mobster.

To be sure, the plot, as it is, really is the least of this film's concerns. It's about.... well, I guess it's a clever deconstruction of the storytelling process and the relationship between the audience and the storyteller.

The problem is that as clever as all that is, Seven Psychopaths would almost certainly have benefitted from placing a solid story front and centre while leaving its themes and oh-so-clever commentaries on contemporary filmmaking to simmer beneath the surface. Last year's Cabin in The Woods was a similar critique of genre and storytelling modes but it managed this while telling a decent yarn.

As it is, Seven Psychopaths leaps, stumbles actually, from one point to the next, some interesting, some not so interesting, none coming together into a successful whole. I did like the parts with the stories of the psychopaths for the Seven Psychopaths script but this only served to highlight how much more I would have enjoyed a story about any one of those characters more than the mixed bag that is this film.

I guess the performances are good but it's hard too tell when the actors are working off a script that feels muddled and at a loss for how to provide anything for such a talented list of players. Sam Rockwell is always good fun and it’s nice to see Farrell growing into more mature roles. Nice too to see Walken playing someone with a surprisingly sweet centre. 

Seven Psychopaths is enjoyable in parts and it's certainly not a bad film.

It just feels annoyingly self-conscious at times, its ideas, however clever, are too clumsily related to be effective and the film too scattered to make for an enjoyable whole.


A quirky comedy with a scatter-shot narrative that feels annoyingly self-conscious at times.

Puff 2013/04/15 1:46 PM
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Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell were the only redeeming features of this movie. And then just barely and mostly because of their deadpan craziness.
Dan 2013/04/22 2:55 PM
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Biggest movie disappointment of 2013! I was expecting so much more considering the talented cast assembled. I agree that the movie literally stumbles and jumps around and ruins what could have been a clever story line. Instead all that's left is an oversupply of violence, blood and blasphemy. Rather watch another movie.
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