TIFF 2012 Review: SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS

PrintE-mail Written by Katherine McLaughlin

Review: Seven Psychopaths / Cert: TBC / Director: Martin McDonagh / Screenplay: Martin McDonagh / Staring: Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Harry Dean Stanton, Tom Waits / US Release Date: October 26th / UK Release Date: TBC

After his much lauded and surprisingly brilliant feature debut In Bruges,  writer/director Martin McDonagh delivers a clever, funny, violent satire about violence in films. It mixes elements of and references to Tarantino, Peckinpah and even Malick, and has much in common with Get Shorty, Short Cuts and Bowfinger. Witty dialogue, dark moments, fast paced action, shoot outs and the framework for a bloody revenge film are set in motion and just as you're about ready to settle in for the usual proceedings McDonagh shifts gears and heads in a different direction.

Marty (Farrell) is writing the screenplay for Seven Psychopaths but is struggling for inspiration as he is aiming to incorporate a psychopath who doesn’t believe in violence and make it all about peace and love. Marty’s friend Billy Bickle (Rockwell who does an amusing De Niro impression) is in the dognapping business with his long-time associate Hans (Walken) and when they steal a Shih Tzu from gangster Charlie Costello (Harrelson) things spiral into gun toting madness.

As Marty and Billy come up with ideas for the psychopaths their imagination is played out in stories full of sick characters (such as the Quaker killer out for revenge, or the serial killer couple who murder other serial killers), the dark and funny skits integrated into the narrative cleverly rather than standing alone. Farrell is spot on in the role of a writer on the edge struggling with issues of integrity and alongside Rockwell who portrays the obnoxious voice of the studio system they work extremely well off each other, arguing their points with vehemence and humour. Add in the deadpan brilliance of Walken and you have a spectacular trio of actors breaking down the pyscho killer film and arguing the case for more refreshing and original films. The strong screenplay comments on the film industry in such a clever way there is no time spent interrupting the entertainment playing out on screen.

The supporting roles are just as rich as the leads with Waits playing a bunny loving psycho who delivers a brief history of some of the serial killers portrayed in film. He references The Town that Dreaded Sundown and Zodiac in some scenes that deliver comical comeuppance. Woody Harrelson’s character addresses the violence in gangster films, and poor female roles are addressed with the lack of outstanding traits given to the women players in the film.

Seven Psychopaths is full of colourful characters and noteworthy performances that plays the film industry at its own game by proving a clever film can also be extremely entertaining.

Expected Rating: 8 out of 10

Actual Rating:


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