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Review: Seven Psychopaths

CBS Films:(L-r) Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell in "Seven Psychopaths"I’ve heard some people say that there are a large number of dog lovers out there who seem to care about their dogs more than they care about people. That’s something that I could never understand personally, but if it’s true, then I can at least understand where the inspiration for Woody Harrelson’s character in Seven Psychopaths comes from. His Shih Tzsu Bonny means so much to him, that he’d even willing to kill for her if he has to.

A guy like Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) knows that there are people out there who love there dogs to death, and he plans on taking full advantage of them. He’s an out of work actor who needs to find ways to make money. Somewhere down the line, he decides that one of the best ways to do that would be to get together with his friend Hans (Christopher Walken) and steal dogs. They describe it as “borrowing” dogs and holding them until the owner puts forth a reward for its safe return. Once the reward is posted they return the pup to its rightful owner in hopes of receiving the money that’s been offered.

It’s a scam that works for them, but it’s about to get rough when they steal the shih tzsu that belongs to Charlie Castello (Woody Harrelson), a ruthless mobster that loves his dog more than life itself. Unfortunately for this duo, Castello is not a rational crime boss who will just pay to get his dog back. He’s a dangerous psychopath with an itchy trigger finger who doesn’t have any qualms about blowing you away with his favorite gun if you cross him. Once he gets wind of the fact that his beloved dog Bonny might have been kidnapped, he and his gang go on an all out offensive to find whoever’s responsible.

This puts these two friends into a lot of trouble, but it also manages to drag Marty (Colin Farrell) right smack into the middle of it. Marty is a long time friend of Billy and is having enough trouble as it is with his own life. He’s trying to write a script for a film that he’s calling “Seven Psychopaths” and he’s having difficulties finding ideas to add to it. Now he has to not only deal with his current battle with writer’s block, but he has to try to avoid the wrath of a crazed and emotionally disturbed mobster.

Seven Psychopaths is a comedy that has multiple layers to it. The plot at the core is divided between the mobster’s relentless search for his shih tzsu and a script that’s trying to be put together by a screenwriter, but there are quite a few side stories that blend into these aspects of the film. These side stories also introduce a number of the psychopaths and some of the supporting characters that we meet. I think the way that director Martin McDonagh brings many of these characters into the film is actually smart and inventive, because he finds ways to plug them into the main story without ever messing any of it up.

Farrell, who teamed up with McDonagh on the 2008 film In Bruges, has the lead role as an Irish screenwriter who may or may not have a drinking problem. He’s an all around decent guy who’s looking for inspiration as he’s constantly trying to smooth things out between his girlfriend Kaya (Abbie Cornish) and his best friend Billy. Being faced with these more recent developments just add on to his already full slate of issues that are being thrown in his direction.

If anyone can be considered a straight man in Seven Psychopaths, it would be Farrell’s character Marty. He’s portrayed in a positive, but depressed way that shows him as somewhat of an honest dude in a self loathing period. As far as the comedy and outrageous happenings that occur, he has a few spots, but those primarily belong to the cast members that surround him.

That group of cast members is lead by Sam Rockwell. He’s actually in the movie just as much as Colin Farrell is, and calling him a supporting actor wouldn’t tell you how important he actually is to Seven Psychopaths and the entire story that it works off of. Christopher Walken is also important and so is Woody Harrelson. Due to the fact that I refuse to divulge any spoilers in my reviews, I can’t say all that I want, but I will say that script uses them in ways that add a bit of shock value to their existence in the film. It really makes the movie even more fun.

When you watch Seven Psychopaths, you’re going to be in store for some comedy and some bloody violence. In the early going, I viewed this movie as decent entertainment, because of its cold-blooded violence. The comedy wasn’t that good in my opinion at this point, but it did get better. As a matter of fact the entire movie kept getting better and better as time went by. The violence began to escalate and the laughs got louder. and my feelings on this film improved to the point where it went from decent in my mind, all the way up to one of my favorites of 2012.

With all of the great things in Seven Psychopaths, my favorite parts are toward the end. There’s one scene in particular that embodies the film in its entirety. It originally looks like the wild and crazy thoughts of a true psychopath, but it comes together to make a wonderful scene that actually makes a ton of sense. Seven Psychopaths in general is a lot like that one scene. It’s a twisted tale filled with violence, comedy and enough seriousness to keep this bittersweet film from being nothing less than intriguing and engaging all the way through.

Score: 4/5

Rating: R

Director: Martin McDonagh

Colin Farrell
Sam Rockwell
Christopher Walken
Woody Harrelson
Tom Waits
Abbie Cornish
Olga Kurylenko
Gabourey Sidibe

Film Length: 105 minutes

Release Date: October 12, 2012

Distributor: CBS Films

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