Sunday, 13 January 2013

Seven Psychopaths


Title: Seven Psychopaths
Director: Martin McDonagh
Released: 2012
Staring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Linda Bright Clay, Amanda Mason Warren

Plot: Marty (Farrell) a writer struggling to finish his screenplay entitled “Seven Psychopaths”, while receiving inspiration from his friends Billy (Rockwell) and Hans (Walken) make a living kidnapping dogs in order to collect the owner’s cash rewards. However when the duo unwittingly steal the beloved Shih Tzu of gangster Charlie Costello (Harrelson), Marty soon finds himself along with his friends entangled in a confrontation with the LA criminal underworld.

Review: Sneaking in at the end of last year, this film has hardly been on the radar for most movie goers who were no doubt more focused on the release of the first film in “The Hobbit” trilogy. Still this is still not the most suprising reaction to this films release considering the last film we saw from director McDonagh was equally overlooked “In Bruges”, which honestly was not a film I exactly dug, thanks largely to the fact it could never quite decide what sort of film it wanted to be. Still it would seem that McDonagh may have learned something from his debut as he returns here with a film which only improves on what “In Bruges” hinted at before.

A multistring tale which shares more than a few ideas in its construction with Spike Jonze's “Adaptation” due to both films switching between real life and fiction, with the two worlds interlinking, the film frequently switches between the film version of Marty’s screenplay and real life were he makes various attempts to finish he script. which is far from easy considering he hasn’t even come up with one of his proposed psychopaths. Slowly over the course of the film these psychopaths are slowly revealed while the lines between fact and fiction become even more worryingly blurred.

These stories of the psychopaths and thier legacies make up the majority of the film as starting with “The Jack of Diamonds Killer” the real life balaclava clad killer currently running around the city with a passion for killing mid to high level members of the mob and a gentle introduction of those who are to follow as we are soon introduced to the first of Marty’s fictional creations “The Quaker” a highly religious hitman who unsurprisingly dresses as a Quaker, who is soon joined by the also religious themed Vietnamese Priest on a quest for revenge against the American platoon who killed his family in the Vietnam war. The most interesting of these colourful characters though is Tom Wait’s killer of serial killers after Billy randomly places an advert in the newspaper

CALLING ALL PSYCHOPATHS! Are you MENTAL or DERANGED? Maybe you have been recently hospitalised but are now Okay? Or perhaps the world just doesn't understand you?",

Sadly McDonagh misses a trick here as rather than a queue of crazies, we instead get a solitary visit by Wait’s rabbit carrying Zachariah, who gives us yet another member of the titular seven, as he tells the tale of how he rescued a girl named Maggie (Warren) from the basement of a serial killer and how the two of them as a couple went across the country killing some of the most famous serial killers including more humorously a rabbit obsessed “Zodiac”. While Waits appearance here is pretty much a brief one, it is still like all of the psychopaths still none the less memorable, perhaps even more so thanks to his pennant for constantly carrying around his white rabbit.

Clearly realising that a collection of short stories about psychopaths would be a hard sell on its own, McDonagh’s attempt to string them together with the dog snatch plotline does at times lack some of the polish that he gives to the short stories, especially when it lacks any of the smart humour that is given to the rest of the film outside of a running joke about a frequently jamming gun. Still the film is generally at its strongest when it is left to the antics of the three friends trying to piece together the screenplay and it’s here that the choice casting really comes into play with Farrell once again wheeling out his befuddled charm as he lives in a state of constant frenzied panic, especially as his screenplay spins wildly out of control. Meanwhile Rockwell continues to be equally enjoyable as the loud and brash Billy, while our man in focus for this month Walken gives another thoughtful performance which he seems to give more frequently these days and here it works especially well, especially when facing down armed gangsters with nothing but an stone faced glance, as he continues to prove that he has just as much presence on the screen even when he is not giving one of his more dominating performances, which he might be more memorable for.

As the main villain Harrelson is truly believable, even if the role had originally been written for Mickey Rouke, who dropped out thanks to creative diffrences with McDonagh and was replaced by Harrelson which ultimately makes for a stronger choice for the role and even more so when it comes to the frequent mood swings which Charlie is prone to, but then Harrelson has always done great crazy!

While it is also inevitable whenever violence is being made to look cool, that comparisons to Tarantino will be drawn but here McDonagh still manages to give us an original spin to proceedings, thanks largely to how he has chosen to shoot the film, with the frequent cut always to the cinematic interpretation of Marty’s script often proving to be the most fun, especially when Billy gives his idea for an ending, which inturn gives us possibly one of the most random shootout’s ever put on screen, especially with Marty being shown trying to write the script in the midst of it, while Walken’s Hans emerges from a coffin like a vampire. However due to this shooting style it will no doubt confound the less open minded movie goer’s who would no doubt prefer a more straightforward approach to the story and essentially only furthering the films status as a cult movie in the making, while making me seriously reconsider McDonagh’s reputation as a director, this is one certainly worth hunting down.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...