Seven Psychopaths is whacked out, over the top, and a hell of a lot of fun. A dash of Pulp Fiction, a little bit of Adaptation, mixed with the continued sharp writing skills of writer/director Martin McDonagh make this film one of the best ensemble comedies I’ve seen in quite a while.
Marty (Colin Farrell) is a screenwriter struggling to finish his newest script entitled Seven Psychopaths. Yes, it’s the story of a bunch of maniacs, but he envisions it as more of a story about peace. That is until his daffy friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) gets involved. Billy wants to help Marty finish his script so he places an ad in the paper calling all psychos to come share their stories. Billy and an eccentric old man named Hans (Christopher Walken) run a dog napping business. Billy nabs the dogs, and then Hans returns the dogs days later to collect the reward. A dangerous mistake, later to be found out to be made on purpose, is when Billy captures the prized shih tzu of a hot-headed gangster named Charlie (Woody Harrelson). As all the loony events unfold, Marty is flabbergasted at all the lunacy, but then realizes Billy truly has set in motion a story worthy of a movie. The third act finds Marty, Billy, and Hans hiding out in the desert from Charlie. While they wait for the final showdown they decide to drink, take peyote, and all three brainstorm their ideas for the script. This was the highlight for me. Billy paints a picture of the screenplays final shootout that literally had me in tears laughing. It made me ponder once again on the fact that somehow Sam Rockwell has been lost underneath the couch cushion of notoriety. How has Rockwell not made it to the A list by now? He’s one of the most talented and entertaining actors of a generation. Oh well, maybe Rockwell is just like Billy, content with his place in this mad, mad world. Dark comedies are a tricky thing, and since McDonagh has made the leap from stage to screen he’s shown that he’s one of the masters at finding the balance between humor, violence, and the sadness of the human condition.
Martin McDonagh just makes movies that I like. With the seriously underrated and under appreciated In Bruges, McDonagh brought us a dark comedy that portrayed the softer side of hit men. Now with Seven Psychopaths he brings colorful characters with serious social issues together that creates an inevitable time bomb of comedy. His casting couldn’t have been better either. Farrell, Rockwell, Walken, Harrelson, and yes Tom Waits bring the playful spirit of McDonagh’s writing to every second of screen time. There is something to be said about a film that is at times so goofy, yet self-aware. Inspired, original, and devilishly funny, Seven Psychopaths is a pure delight.