SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS: A warm-up excercise for Christopher Walken

Seven Psychopaths, directed by Martin McDonagh, tracks a possibly alcoholic screenwriter (played by Colin Farrell) struggling to write a script about seven psychopaths, the problem is, he’s only come up with the idea for one Psychopathic character so far. This problem is resolved quickly however, when his best friend (Sam Rockwell) and partner (Christopher Walken) kidnap a mobster’s Shih Tzu in an attempt to illicit reward money.

If you have seen McDonagh’s Oscar-winning short Six Shooter (2005), or first feature film In Bruges (2008), then you are familiar with his endless supply of comedic quotable phrases and one liners. Kudos if you’ve followed his career as a playwright from which his darkly comedic style came from. He has referred to himself as a playwright who doesn’t like plays, but who rather prefers movies. This statement garnered a lot of excitement when he revealed that he had a few screenplays laying around ready to shoot, Seven Psychopaths being one of the first. Sadly however, the trailer which was cut for this film was more interesting than the actual film, which suffers from less than stellar acting from Farrell and Rockwell and a static use of Woody Harrelson. Tom Waits is used sparingly and could easily have been cut out of the picture. Farrell and Rockwell bring energy to their roles but at times their scenes feel raw, unpolished and over-the-top.

The film is darker than many will expect it to be from the previews. There are times when there is cartoon-ish violence used for comedic effect and then other times when there is down and gritty violence which brings you out of the comedic zone and into a darker place.

The best part of the movie is Christopher Walken’s performance as the dog-napping accomplice who refuses to roll over for mobsters.

Also, when Rockwell’s character isn’t over-the-top he’s hysterical. There are some funny scenes such as the screenwriter’s developing story about his first Psychopath and his best friend’s counter-argument disproving why an “eye for an eye” does not actually make the whole world blind. I confess that I am a big time Colin Farrell fan and that my favorite playwright is Martin McDonagh but I did not like this movie as much as I wanted to. I think it still worth watching because of the joke (its a dark one) revolving around the Quaker who stalks the man who killed his daughter, however I can only encourage you to put it at the top of your mental Redbox rental list.

7.3 out of 9.9.

The grade for this film was curved due to my bias towards McDonagh and Farrell.

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