Seven Psychopaths

Directed By: Martin McDonagh

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson

Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell and Woody Harrelson are in Seven Psychopaths.  Frankly, that sentence alone should be enough to make you run, not walk to theaters to see the film.  I personally could not wait to see some of my favorite character actors unleashed in a comedic, murderous romp.  I must say, the film and most importantly, the actors, did not disappoint.

Marty (Farrell) is a struggling Irish screenwriter in Los Angeles, California.  He constantly bickers with his girlfriend and drinks too much.  His new screenplay is a film about seven psychopathic killers.  Marty’s free-spirited best friend Billy (Rockwell) offers to help him develop the back stories for the seven killers.

Billy, however, has his own issues.  He does not appear to have an actual job, but has a dog stealing scam that earns money.  Billy and Hans (Walken) kidnap dogs from parks and then return said dogs to distraught owners for a reward.  It is a profitable scam that allows Hans to give money to his ailing wife Myra (Linda Bright Clay).  Their scheme goes awry, however, when Billy kidnaps a little Shih Tzu owned by local gangster Charlie (Harrelson).  Charlie will not rest until he gets his dog back and he will torture and kill anyone in between him and his dog.  Marty is inadvertently thrust into the mix with Charlie, Billy, Hans and a host of other crazy characters, and suddenly finds that his own life can drive the script for his film about psychopaths.

Seven Psychopaths is a fun, wild ride.  The film is a film about itself, the creative process and the madness of its characters.   Seven Psychopaths mocks itself at times (i.e. discussions of the use and misuse of female characters in Hollywood).  The dialogue is smart, fast-paced and I undoubtedly missed some zingers because I was laughing too hard at some scenes.  Perhaps writer and director Martin McDonagh was telling a fictionalized story about himself as the lead character “Marty.”  

With all of that being said, this film is character driven and it is the actors’ commitment and performances that stand out.  Christopher Walken is simply magnificent.  He tells a story with his eyes and his facial expressions like no other.  His portrayal of Hans is at times hilarious, at times sad, but always poignant.  He is one of the finest actors of our time and he shines in Seven Psychopaths.

Walken is not alone, however.  Sam Rockwell delivers his normal zest to his character Billy.  Rockwell captivates whenever he is onscreen and his interplay with Walken is an absolute delight.  Farrell, also delivers as the struggling screenwriter.  He is definitely the straight man to Walken, Rockwell and Harrelson.  However, his reactions to the insanity around him are PRICELESS.  All around, the cast delivers in a big way.

With all of that being said, there are times when the pace of the film is a bit off.  More specifically, the first half of the film zooms by and then it deliberately slows down for plot purposes.  That made the film a little uneven at times for me.  All in all, Seven Psychopaths delivers.  If you’re looking for a quirky, brutally violent, but comedic caper, then Seven Psychopaths is for you.  This earns a strong .03 rating.