Just a look at the ensemble cast which writer/director Martin McDonagh has gathered for this quirky psycho-comedy-crime-thriller should tell you everything you need to know – far better than any review I could pen. Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harellson, Tom Waits, and Harry Dean Stanton – not forgetting Bonny the Shih Tzu, of course – it doesn’t get any weirder than this. A very smart, albeit blood-soaked, comedy-thriller about some very stupid people doing some very nasty things to one another for some very silly reasons – a host of maniacs, if you will – scripted by McDonagh himself, director of IN BRUGES.
Set in LA and other Southern California locations, the outrageous plot jerks from one narrative implausibility to the other, weaving them into a convoluted web of storylines, subplots, dead bodies and riotous, black humor.
Trying to keep the plot simple: Alcoholic screenwriter Martin (Colin Farrell) is struggling with writer’s block, unable to get beyond the title page of his new script. Giving him the benefit of his creative inspiration (or egging him on) is Billy, his nutbag of a buddy (Sam Rockwell) – who could well be a psychopath himself – but that’s something the audience has yet to discover. Billy has a partner in his latest criminal venture, played by none other than Christopher Walken, everybody’s favorite eccentric. Together, they abduct pet pooches from the park, later returning them to their respective owners for the proffered reward. Hardly high crime, but it’s a living and all goes well, until the day they happen to kidnap the wrong dog – the beloved pet of a ruthless gangster boss, portrayed by Woody Harrelson at his manic best. And this is where the Shih Tzu hits the fan, you might say…
SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS isn’t exactly a work of high art – there are confused sections where there’s just too much going on – but it is an exceptional, bizarre, and wonderfully funny ensemble film that is streets ahead of practically every other comedy currently on the screen. Winner of the People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival, as well as the Boston Society of Film Critics, it has garnered five further nominations, already recouping its relatively low $15 mill. budget since its US release on December 14th.
SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, USA 2012; US distributor: CBS Films/Release date: December 14; German Title: 7 Psychos/German distributor: DCM Film Distribution/Release date: December 6; Running time: 109 min.; Director/Writer: Martin McDonagh; Cast: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Pitt, Harry Dean Stanton, Kevin Corrigan, Long Nguyen, DOP Ben Davis; Composer: Carter Burwell; Rated R