Seven Psychopaths (2012)

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 8.2/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 8/10

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (2012) - Martin McDonagh

Yes, the title is exactly as it sounds.

Similar to Quentin Tarantino, Martin McDonagh directs and writes this bold and engaging new black comedy that stars Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson. Like Tarantino, the dialogue is sharp and the violence is gritty. Yet, at the end of the day, Seven Psychopaths holds onto a substance that is the most cunning and mischievous, making this kind of odd piece more refreshing over familiar work by Tarantino or perhaps even the Coen Brothers.

Seven Psychopaths mainly revolves around Marty (Colin Farrell), a struggling writer who is desperately trying to finish his screenplay, also titled Seven Psychopaths. As the film's narrative progresses, so does the number of times it flirts with cinematic commentary. At this point, he only has the title and is in the middle of listing out who the seven are. In response, his best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) barges in and helps him by starting an ad to attract potential characters for Marty's script. Oh, and did I mention that this friend is a dog kidnapper who just happened to pick the wrong guy to steal from? Yes, he chose to mess with Woody Harrelson, a violent gangster head with a peculiar attraction to his beloved puppy. What happens next is the psychotic yet consistently entertaining ride that Seven Psychopaths will take you in.

Unlike plot-based films, Seven Psychopaths prioritizes bizarre characters over storytelling. As a result, the main component that shines through is the cast. Farrell gives his most oddly organic performance yet, coming forth as a flawed man, a man with a drinking problem that he never recognizes as a problem and a man with too thin of an attention span to work on his script. Christopher Walken, who portrays Billy's co-worker in dog kidnapping, constantly chuckles at himself while maintaining a fresh presentation, and each "psychopath" in the film is merely a puzzle piece that forms one big picture. Except translate this picture into more of an explosive outrageously fun treatment.

Even though Seven Psychopaths constantly pokes fun at its own substance, it still knows that it is indeed a "film." McDonagh triumphs from big technical components like pacing and editing to the smallest details like simple camerawork in a scene.Making the camera itself become a character, McDonagh knows when to show things as well as hide things, immersing the audience into the characters' world effectively. Despite the clever dialogue, there are moments where Seven Psychopaths itself is not clever enough, mainly because it emphasizes on giving a ride more than anything else. Yes, it is a noticeable flaw, but then again Seven Psychopaths might just become a modern cult hit.

In conclusion, Seven Psychopaths is one of the most feel-good films of 2012. With an opening scene in which two violent mob individuals are shot point-blank without knowing, McDonagh's new film confidently tells the audience what kind of tone to expect: odd and bizarre, yet refreshing and highly entertaining. As for the acting department, McDonagh boldly hands the reins over to top-notch actors that everyone loves. Add in over-the-top violence, devious dialogue, and a crafty subtlety of comedy. What do you get? You get the greatest trip-turned-detour-film, if you know what I mean. The result is an explosively rewarding treat from a film that does justice to its title.


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