Seven Psychopaths
dir-scr Martin McDonagh
prd Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin, Martin McDonagh
with Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, Zeljko Ivanek, Olga Kurylenko, Abbie Cornish, Linda Bright Clay, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Pitt, Michael Stuhlbarg
release US 12.Oct.12,
Ire/UK 7.Dec.12
12/Ireland 1h50
Seven Psychopaths
Stop the madness: Farrell and Rockwell

walken harrelson waits
london film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Seven Psychopaths Both a freewheeling crime comedy and an astute exploration of the creative process, this clever film teeters on the brink of absurdity. But it's so much fun, and so brilliantly well-played, that it wins us over.

Irish writer Marty (Farrell) is in Hollywood struggling with his next screenplay. He has a title - Seven Psychopaths - but isn't sure about the nonviolent Buddhist killer. Then he learns that his manic pal Billy (Rockwell) is involved in a scam with Hans (Walken) to kidnap dogs for the rewards. And they've just grabbed the beloved shitzu of ruthlessly unpredictable thug Charlie (Harrelson), who embarks on a murderous rampage. As Marty gets entwined in the mayhem, he discovers that maybe his new script isn't so far-fetched after all.

McDonagh writes witty dialog that crackles with personality. Although this is brainier and less emotionally resonant than In Bruges, it's so snappy that we rarely stop laughing, especially as he pokes fun at his own shortcomings. For example, he hardly bothers to write a female role: Kurylenko (as Charlie's girlfriend) and Cornish (as Marty's ex) are barely in the film, although Clay (as Hans' wife) fares somewhat better. By contrast, the men are complex bundles of misplaced masculinity who wish life was as straightforward as the movies.

Farrell is terrific as a nice-guy writer caught in a ridiculous situation that upends his ideas of violence. As the wildly gyrating Billy, Rockwell steals the movie, causing much of the plot's chaos with a mixture of boyish enthusiasm and deranged mischief-making. Walken is wonderful as the matter-of-fact Hans, coping with tragedy and violence in ways that continually catch us off-guard. And Harrelson is very funny as the mercurial Charlie.

One of McDonagh's strengths is creating characters who are consistent and unpredictable at the same time. And he has a lot of fun with this bunch of idiots. In Marty he also lampoons himself, complete with continual teasing about his Irishness. At times, the dialog is too Tarantino-esque, but the film's comical tone and lurid production values create a distinct atmosphere. Marty wants his movie to be life-affirming: psychos who talk instead of shoot each other ("Are we making a French movie?" asks Billy). And in the end McDonagh is having so much fun that he forgets to include the message. Brilliant.

cert 15 themes, violence, language, innuendo 18.Oct.12 lff

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© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall