SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS

8 out of 10

Release Date: 30th November 2012

Director: Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)

Cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Tom Waits, Olga Kurylenko, Zeljko Ivanek, Kevin Corrigan, Linda Bright-Clay, James Hebert, Long Nguyen, Amanda Warren and Gabourey Sidibe with Harry Dean Stanton, Michael Pitt and Michael Stuhlbarg

Writer: Martin McDonagh

Trailer: Seven Psychopaths

 

Fans of In Bruges, the four year wait is over.  I’d say it was worth the wait for as arch and all knowing as Seven Psychopaths is, it’s still blo0dy entertaining.  Colin Farrell (THE NEW WORLD) plays a Los Angeles screenwriter called Marty who has a severe case of block.  He’s trying to write a film called ‘Seven Psychopaths’. His best friend Billy (SAM ROCKWELL – MOON) kidnaps Beverly Hills dogs for a living with his pal, Hans (CHRISTOPHER WALKEN – KING OF NEW YORK).  Billy inadvertently steals an unhinged gangster’s (WOODY HARRELSON – RAMPART) Sh*tzu and sets off a string of inspirational events that may get Marty writing again, such is Billy dedication to the cause.  Meanwhile, there is a serial killer roaming LA, offing mobsters called *sh*t! I forgot*.

This film is packed to the gills with ‘famous face’ cameos and it’s a real treat to see a return to the type of gangster flicks that came out in the wake of Pulp Fiction because there were hardly any good ones. This is a “great” one. Seven Psychopaths reminds me in particular of Gary Fleder’s Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead in that it has a glorious gallery of grotesques to get to know.  I kept on expecting Steve Buscemi to show up but he never did, you do,however, get to see two of his Boardwalk Empire co-stars though, Michael Pitt (THE DREAMERS) and Michael Stuhlbarg (A SERIOUS MAN) for a bit.  Elsewhere we have the illustrious Tom Waits (THE FISHER KING) who turns up with one impressive story to tell and Harry Dean Stanton (PARIS TEXAS) in a silent but haunting walk-on role.  In the main the women are short-changed apart from Linda Bright Gray (ORIGINAL GANGSTAZ) as Hans’, cancer suffering wife, Myra.  In a different type of movie, she would have stolen the show.

But, this is Christopher Walken‘s show, although he’s got competition from a cracking Sam Rockwell and a puzzlingly dark yet funny and conflicted Woody Harrelson.  I’ve missed Christopher Walken, who I don’t think I’ve seen onscreen since the late Tony Scott’s Domino, there’s no other Hollywood star like him.  He’s effortlessly weird yet when called up he can unsettle you to the core, for instance there is a muted face off, in Seven Psychopaths, between himself and Harrelson which is electric in light of what’s just occurred in the story.  I think it’s this scene that elevates the whole movie above a silly piss about in the desert.  Which is essentially what this movie is. As obsessed as Billy is with getting Marty inspired, strangely enough Marty begins to chronicle events, with Billy constantly arguing about how the film should conclude. So in effect the whole film is a bit “meta”. Martin McDonagh‘s dialogue is sharp and witty but it’s also very arch. All of the characters seem to be on the same hip level of being able to answer each others sarcastic quips with equally lighting quick retorts.  This betrays the writer in that all players have the same brain, the same vocabulary.  Two mobsters in an early scene riff off one another just like Marty and Billy do later on.  There does seem to be a precious quality to the script, which I doubt was deviated from in the slightest, but like I said the performances and the wit is so good this is just a minor quibble.  Unusually for a British film, it features no British actors at all and I only learnt it was a Britpic from finding out it was co-financed by FilmFour and the BFI.  It’s completely set in California and walks and talks like an American movie.  I actually prefer this type of Britpic to the ‘made for USA’ crap like Tamara Drewe, because it’s story wouldn’t work in the UK.

8 out of 10 – I really enjoyed Seven Psychopaths as much as I did In Bruges.  If you didn’t like the former you certainly won’t appreciate this. But it’s really entertaining. The meta-schtik doesn’t get too annoying and the cast are just amazing. Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell all put in very memorable caricatures and deliver amazing performances.  It’s a fun guns and bullets movie and I haven’t even begun to talk about the best bits.  I’ll leave it you to discover them.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Colin Farrell: Fantastic Beast and Where To Find Them, The Lobster, Solace, True Detective (TV), Miss Julie (2015), The Winter’s Tale, Saving Mr Banks, Dead Man Down, Total Recall (2012), Fright Night (2011), Horrible Bosses, The Way Back, London BoulevardOndine, The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus, In Bruges,  Crazy Heart, Cassandra’s Dream, Miami Vice Movie, The New World, Intermission, Alexander, S.W.A.T., Veronica Guerin, Phone Booth, Daredevil, Minority Report, The Recruit, Hart’s War, Tigerland, The War Zone
  • Sam Rockwell: Poltergeist (2015), Laggies, The Way Way Back, Cowboys & Aliens, Iron Man 2, Everybody’s Fine, Gentlemen Broncos, Moon, Frost/Nixon, Choke, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Matchstick Men, Confessions Of a Dangerous Mind, Welcome To Collinwood, Heist, Charlie’s Angels, Galaxy Quest, The Green Mile, Lawn Dogs, Box Of Moonlight
  • Christopher Walken: The Jungle Book (voice) (2015), Jersey Boys, Stand Up Guys, A Last Quartet, Dark Horse, The Legend of Harrow Woods (voice), Hairspray (2006), Click, Domino, Wedding Crashers, The Stepford Wives (2004), Man On Fire, Welcome To The Jungle, Gigli, Kangaroo Jack, Catch Me If You Can, America’s Sweethearts, Sleepy Hollow, Antz (voice), Blast From The Past, Mousehunt, Excess Baggage, Last Man Standing, The Funeral, Basquiat, The Addiction, Nick Of Time, Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead, Wild Side, The Prophecy – parts 1-3, Pulp Fiction, A Business Affair, Wayne’s World 2, True Romance, Batman Returns, Mistress, The Comfort Of Strangers, King Of New York, Communion, Homeboy, Biloxi Blues, At Close Range, James Bond – A View To a Kill, The Dead Zone, Dogs Of War, Heaven’s Gate, The Deer Hunter, Annie Hall
  • Woody Harrelson: Now You See Me 2, The Hunger Games – Mockingjay 2, Mockingjay, True Detective (TV), Out Of The Furnace, The Hunger Games 2, Now You See Me, The Hunger Games, Rampart, Friends With Benefits, 2012, Zombieland, The Messenger, Seven Pounds, No Country For Old Men, A Scanner Darkly, North Country, After The Sunset, She Hate Me, Anger Management, Play It To The Bone, EdTV, The Hi-Lo Country, The Thin Red Line, Palmetto, Wag The Dog, Welcome To Sarajevo, The People Vs. Larry Flynt, Kingpin, the Sunchaser, Money Train, Natural Born Killers, The Cowboy Way, Indecent Proposal, White Men Can’t Jump, Doc Hollywood, L.A. Story, Cheers (TV), Wildcats
  • Abbie Cornish: Solace, Robocop (2014),  W/E, Limitless, Sucker Punch, Bright Star, Elizabeth I – The Golden Age, Candy, Somersault
  • Tom Waits: The Book Of Eli, The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus, Coffee & Cigarettes, Domino, Mystery Men, Short Cuts, Dracula (1992), At Play In The Fields Of The Lord, The Fisher King, Down By Law, The Cotton Club, Rumblefish, The Outsiders
  • Olga Kurylenko: A Perfect Day, Momentum, The Water Diviner, Oblivion, To The Wonder, Centurion, James Bond – Quantum Of Solace, Max Payne, Hitman, Paris Je T’Aime
  • Zeljko Ivanek: Argo, Bourne Legacy, Tower Heist, In Bruges, Die Hard 4, Manderlay, The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Dogville, Unfaithful, Black Hawk Down, Hannibal, Dancer In The Dark, A Civil Action, Donnie Brasco, Courage Under Fire
  • Kevin Corrigan: The Dictator, Some Guy Who Kills People, Unstoppable (2010), Please Give, Pineapple Express, American Gangster, Superbad, The Departed, Buffalo 66, Henry Fool, Trees Lounge, Walking and Talking, True Romance
  • Linda Bright Clay: Original Gangstas
  • James Hebert: Gangster Squad, Super 8
  • Gabourey Sibide: Tower Heist, Precious
  • Harry Dean Stanton: The Last Stand, Avenger’s Assemble, This Must be The Place, Rango (voice), Inland Empire, You Me & Dupree, Alien Autopsy, Alpha Dog, The Big Bounce, Anger Management, The Pledge, The Man Who Cried, The Green Mile, The Straight Story, A Civil Action, The Mighty, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, Fire Down Below, Never Talk To Strangers, Man Trouble, Twin Peaks – Fire Walk With Me, Wild At Heart, Slam Dance, Pretty In Pink, Red Dawn (1987), Paris Texas, Repo Man, Christine, Escape From New York, Alien, Straight Time, Missouri Breaks, The Godfather II, Two Lane Blacktop,  Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid, Dillinger, Cool Hand Luke
  • Michael Pitt: Boardwalk Empire (TV), Funny Games (2007), Silk, Last Days, The Village, The Dreamers, Murder By Numbers, Bully, Hedwig & The Angry Inch, Finding Forrester
  • Michael Stuhlbarg: Steve Jobs, Blue Jasmine, Boardwalk Empire (TV), Hitchcock, Lincoln, Men In Black 3, Hugo, A Serious Man
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