Matt’s Review: ‘Seven Psychopaths’ is Self Aware, But Not as Smart or Funny as it ThinksBy
Seven Psychopaths comes off a lot better than it is. It features a stellar cast, an intriguing story, and well crafted trailers to sell this film’s value. Fragments of Seven Psychopaths are very enjoyable, but the pool of worthwhile content doesn’t feel deep enough to deserve a feature film treatment. The good moments are gripping, but it’s encased with boring progressions that say and do very little. Fans of Martin McDonagh, Writer/Director of In Bruges, will feel right at home watching his unique style of storytelling play out this obscure story. But otherwise, this one probably shouldn’t be at the top of your ‘must see’ list.
The story follows Marty (Colin Farrell), a screenwriter struggling to compose his next screenplay based on the lives of seven insane people. In an effort to help him, Billy, played by the excellent Sam Rockwell, sends out word via the web to any psychopaths to come meet with Marty to help inspire his tale. Billy and Hans (Christoper Walken) are low level thieves, stealing dogs and returning them to their owners for rewards. The story takes a spin towards the über crazy when the pair steals the precious dog of a crazed criminal Charlie (Woody Harrelson).
Seven Psychopaths jumps from character to character, story to story, to build up the inevitable collision of all these strange personalities. The film even alludes to this impending confrontation with the characters commenting on it. For the duration, Billy tries to set their ‘story arc’ to climax like a good drama/action flick. He says things like, “You didn’t bring a gun to the final shootout?!” The film is very self aware, but making a film smart takes a lot more than characters acknowledging their lives playing out like a movie.
It has plenty of very funny moments that induce laughter and excitement, but there are also plenty of moments that are head scratching. There are pieces within that are difficult to decipher if humor or disgust is the message — there are many perverse scenes these psychopaths revel that can be difficult to swallow. Some of the story lines or scenes do not progress the film or seem to serve any purpose other than shock value or the insertion of ‘needed’ violence.
Overall, the film is one that will be cherished by some and hated by others. I’m kind of in the middle. I can appreciate what McDonagh is trying here, but Seven Psychopaths left me with a bland taste in my mouth and no real desire to shout its praise from any social media mountaintop. But I also felt the same way about the treasured In Bruges. These two are not my type of films.
What Should You Do? See it if you’re intrigued, but otherwise wait for a Red Box Rental.