The aching struggle with writers block coupled with a mildly serious bout of alcoholism that plagues the life of screen writer Marty Faranan is, funny enough, a slice of sanity amongst the mayhem conjured up in Seven Psychopaths. Marty, played by Colin Farrell, is a Hollywood screenwriter battling to write a screenplay entitled: “Seven Psychopaths”. Helping Marty out of his creative doldrums is his best friend, unemployed actor, Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) who kidnaps dogs in order to receive reward money after pretending to have found the unfortunate wandering dog.
The canine abduction racket takes an unexpected turn as Billy kidnaps Bonny, the beloved Shih Tzu of deranged mob boss, Charlie Costello, expertly portrayed by Woody Harrelson. As Charlie goes on the rampage in search of his furry companion, Marty inadvertently becomes involved in a psychotic episode that sees much violence and even some philosophical moments of which Billy’s kidnapping accomplice, Hans Kieslowski played by Christopher Walken, is a big part.
Critically, Seven Psychopaths has received glowing reviews with David Denby, a writer for The New Yorker¸ describing it as: “The kind of messy, absurdist movie that can lift you out of a crappy mood – at least for a while.”
The pedigree brought by the likes of Walken and Harrelson mixed with the colourful characters such as Zachariah Rigby, a killer of serial killers, results in a mesh of priceless exchanges. Being politically correct was not very high on the list of priorities for this film and the racial, cultural and gender slurs lend a touch of authenticity to the crass characters. Sam Rockwell is excellent as Billy, the loveable and slightly violent failed actor who means well to those around him but inevitably succumbs to his fits of rage.
In this movie within a movie, reality blurs into the absurd as the characters in Marty’s imagination are often outdone by those he encounters in real life. This is director Martin McDonagh’s second attempt at a feature film and the vulgarly funny dialogue is clearly in line with that of In Bruges, McDonagh’s first black comedy film. The film smacks of something Tarantino. That, coupled with an ensemble cast is a recipe for a very positive cinematic experience.
This movie is not a classic, but if all you want are two hours of time not wasted then Seven Psychopaths is definitely the right choice. Thoroughly entertaining and completely unexpected, this movie has the ability to draw in the viewer and leave an excited smirk not easily wiped from the face afterwards. Quality, if not family, entertainment.
Seven Psychopaths is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.