I have to admit that I wasn’t aware of this movie until just a month or two ago when the TV ads started ramping up for its release. Without knowing anything about the movies plot my reaction to the trailer was mixed. A movie about 7 killers that kill things while saying quirky one liners… meh, I thought. For the record, if that’s all you think this movie is then you are very wrong.
The movie centers around Marty (Colin Farrell) a screenwriter (and raging alcoholic) who is experiencing writers block with his latest screenplay called Seven Psychopaths. His best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) is a wanna-be actor who supplements his income by stealing people’s pets and then returning them to their owners for the reward money. Hans (Christopher Walken) is Billy’s partner, and uses the money to help pay for cancer treatments for his ailing wife. Marty wants to write a movie about psychopaths and their escapades, but so far only has one character to use in his script. This changes though once Billy and Hans kidnap a dog belonging to mob boss Charlie (Woody Harrelson) who really loves his dog and is NOT happy that its been stolen.
The main characters in this movie all shine, but I have to single out Christopher Walken’s performance. He is creepy and ponderous, and playful here. Vintage Walken, not the parody of himself that stand up comics often go to for a laugh. He plays a significant role towards the end of the movie and in doing so reminds everyone exactly how good of an actor he is.
It doesn’t take long into this movie before you realize that through Marty the movie is self referential and at one point goes as far as to tell the audience what to expect in terms of how it will end. Many movies that attempt to go this route often fail but Psychopaths does it masterfully revealing layer after layer of superb story telling. The story jumps around but only a little bit and it serves the story well in that when you are taken away from the main story-line what you are being shown always factors into what you’ll see later on.
The movie is not for the faint of heart however. Within the first 5 minutes two people are brutally murdered and the camera doesn’t cut away. By the time the movie’s over there will have been at least 7 or 8 more and except for one person, the film shows it to you in disgusting detail. Yet surprising for such a violent film the overall tone is not dark or disheartening. If I had to describe it I would say that it’s a morbidly cheerful movie despite it all of its gruesome violence.
Seven Psychopaths is a special movie. I won’t say that it’s better than Pulp Fiction–because its not, but Tarantino’s classic is the first movie that comes to my mind when I try to compare it to something else. The movie is MORE than worth your time. IF you can stomach the violence. Oh, one more thing. Make sure you stay for the credits when it’s over.
Remember, its a cheerful movie but its a morbid one as well.