Review: Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths is about a writer named Marty (Colin Farrell) whose trying to write a movie call “Seven Psychopaths” but seems to be having trouble getting past the title.  He doesn’t want his film to be too violent instead opting for a character driven piece that tells an interesting story instead of violence for the sake of violence.  His best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) is all too eager to help his friend co-write the script, although he wants more of a action heavy, stylized violence sort of movie. Billy is an out of work actor so to help make ends meet, he and his friend Hans (Christopher Walken) pull off two-man dog kidnapping jobs. The scam is going pretty well until they snatch a dog from sadistic gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson) who will do anything, and kill anyone to get his dog back.

Like the movie Marty is trying desperately to write, Seven Psychopaths is at its best when it’s focused on its characters. Writer/director Martin McDonagh ‘s dialogue is clever, quirky, darkly humorous and extremely meta. Rockwell rides the line between genius and insanity while Walken gives a great performance as the emotional anchor of the film while at the same time still ever so slightly unhinged. Farrell is very convincing as an alcoholic screenwriter who can’t believe the outrageous circumstances he finds himself in and Harrelson delivers a good performance conveying both menace and pity. The female characters in the film aren’t much more than cameos with little to do (a point which the film makes reference).

Seven Psychopaths is a movie about trying to write a movie, while parodying the genre of the movie it is trying to write. It’s also pretty good time.