what to say about seven psychopaths? the writer/director, martin mcdonagh, had a really impressive debut film with in bruges. fast paced funny dialogue, insane situations and wild action made that film remarkable.
this film tries for more of the same. and while i don’t think it succeeds, it still is a good ride, and the performances of christopher walken and sam rockwell are worth the price of admission all on their own.
the insane situation in this film is that hans (christopher walken) and billy (sam rockwell) and dog kidnappers. they snatch dogs from well-to-do people and wait for them to post fliers offering a reward. they have a garage where they keep the dogs in cages until they are returned.
marty (colin farrell) is their screenwriter friend who is drinking too much and losing his girlfriend. he’s got a bit of writers block as he’s trying to write a movie called seven psychopaths.
as it happens, they kidnap a shih tzu that belongs to a ruthless gangster (woody harrelson). his quest to get his dog back becomes the undoing of just about everyone involved.
you can see early on where the self aware material is going to go.
the language is harsh and it feels like there’s too much of it in places. some of the violence gets a little annoying and borders on exploitative. most of the characters are just as you’d expect them to be in this type of movie.
there’s a scene where they are driving to the desert to hide out. as they are driving they are talking about the mechanics of writing a movie. marty says that, instead of his movie ending in a fiery final shootout, he’d have the characters just go out to the desert and talk. billy counters that you have to have a final shootout, and no one would be all that interested in the guys in the film sitting around the desert and talking. the fact that this is what they are doing in the movie as they are discussing the movie marty is writing is cute.
one trick mcdonagh employs here is making fun of the weaknesses of his own movie. when there is a weak plot point or an overall weakness, he has the characters in his film mock it. this is especially true with the lack of well written roles for women. but just because you slyly have a character in the film remark that marty doesn’t know how to write for women doesn’t excuse the fact that this is a big weakness in the actual screenplay. it’s like pointing out your own bad hairdo so that someone won’t remark on it. but when you do that, you still have shitty hair.
it’s all very clever but not very satisfying, and yet i’d still call watching this movie ‘fun’. i especially enjoyed tom waits in this film, petting a rabbit as he discusses some very awful things.