Movie review: Seven Psychopaths (MA)

A COMEDY titled Seven Psychopaths has come out of nowhere to be a must-see film for this year.

This clever, funny and quite concerning film stars Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson.

In all my usual internet trawling, trailer watching and review reading, I managed to miss this film’s trailer.

It follows struggling screenwriter Marty (Farrell), who is caught up in the criminal underworld when his friend Billy (Rockwell) kidnaps a gangster’s Shih Tzu.

Billy and Hans (Walken) have a habit of kidnapping people’s dogs and returning them days later to collect the reward on offer.

But stealing gangster Charlie’s (Harrelson) dog is a step too far and they soon find themselves on the run.

The intelligent script has been put together by Martin McDonagh who also wrote the similarly funny, and concerning In Bruges.

Farrell also starred in that film and the black comedy that debates theological and philosophical ideas is evident again.

Outside of the main plot driven by a kidnapped Shih Tzu, the audience is also intrigued by the script being developed by Marty.

Marty’s script (titled Seven Psychopaths) may have a great name but is lacking in psychopathic characters.

Yet the ideas that come to the front turn out to be very intriguing. They include a Vietnamese priest, a born again Christian and a couple who hunt only serial killers.

It is understandable that a movie featuring seven psychopaths, kidnapped dogs and the inevitable final shoot out may not appeal to all but the acting talent makes this film better than maybe it deserves to be.

Usually playing a loose cannon, Farrell’s character is dull and normal with the exception of his interest in psychopaths.

Sam Rockwell is as impressive as ever while he plays the excitable, cocky and violence loving Billy.

Harrelson plays a good villain obsessed with the safety of a fluffy dog but it is Christopher Walken who steals the show.

Walken’s character, Hans, is complex, intelligent, compassionate and most importantly non-violent.

The sub-plot of Hans is something that could warrant a film on its own and Walken should be commended for the way he has portrayed such a layered character.

Like its fellow dark and satirical counterparts, Seven Psychopaths manages to walk the fine line of not being stupidly funny and outrageously violent.

The characters also push the fourth wall by referencing how a screenplay should end and what should happen at the film’s climax. It reminds me of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (starring Robert Downey jnr).

Like McDonagh’s other major film, In Bruges, the tone, plot lines and complex characters make it very watchable and quite enjoyable.

With a taste of film noir, comedy representing the likes of Reservoir Dogs and a level of implied violence, Seven Psychopaths is one for the boys. Even if it does have puppies in it.

The Verdict: 4 stars

- Seven Psychopaths (MA) is now showing at Bendigo Cinemas. 

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