Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Seven Psychopaths
Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Linda Bright Clay, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Pitt, Harry Dean Stanton, Kevin Corrigan, Zeljko Ivanek, Gabourey Sidibe

Marty (Colin Farrell) is trying to write a screenplay. He has a title – Seven Psychopaths – and a rough idea for a first psychopath. But apart from a drinking problem, he doesn’t have much else. His best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) tries to help, but is mostly caught up with the dognapping business he runs with Hans (Christopher Walken). But when Marty’s girlfriend Kaya (Abbie Cornish) kicks him out and Billy naps the beloved Shi-Tzu of the crazy Charlie (Woody Harrelson), everything unravels pretty quickly.

The marketing for this film is completely off. And when I say completely off, they decided to take away the movie’s selling point to make it look like a pretty standard action comedy. But it’s not – instead it’s an exercise in meta – and I loved it.


I didn’t know much about the movie before going in. I saw the trailer, the awesome cast and that it was by the guy who made In Bruges – which is more than enough to recommend it. But that meant that I was absolutely surprised when the movie wasn’t actually about Seven Psychopaths (though they are there), but a really meta film about screenwriting itself. Not that I’m complaining about that at all.

It does feel a bit autobiographical – like the metaness (metacity?) of it all happened because Martin McDonagh himself was stuck on the script and ddin’t know how to proceed. But if this is what comes of writer’s block, everybody should have it.


Sometimes the film does fall a little short of the mark, though. For example, that Hans remarks that the women Marty writes are damn atrocious – “most women do know how to string together a sentence” – and goes on to fix the one prostitute he wrote about, I wanted to stand up and slow clap. The effect is ruined though, because neither Kaya nor Angela (Olga Kurylenko) get to be more than cardboard cutouts/eye-candy. Which is a special waste when it comes to Abbie Cornish. If you got her, let her act. At least there was Myra (Linda Bright Clay) who was all kinds of awesome.

But most of the time, the movie was absolutely delightful. Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell and Christopher Walken make for an awesome team and the movie absolutely plays to their strengths. As it does for Woody Harrelson. And it was a whole lot of fun. Fast-paced, entertaining and absolutely insane.


Summarising: Totally recommended.

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