Strange, oddball, wacky, abnormal, unorthodox, peculiar.
Any of the above words could sum up Martin McDonagh’s new movie “Seven Psychopaths.”
Those words, and brilliant. Maybe.
McDonagh — known for the dark dramedy “In Bruges” — directed and wrote this film, making it very much his own. And after seeing it, it’s clear he doesn’t adhere to the typical plots we see in movies, or in any kind of conventional story for that matter. It seemed that he made this film for no reasons except that one, he could, and two, the concepts intrigued him. I’d be both fascinated and frightened to see what’s inside of his head.
From start to finish, the movie feels off-kilter yet somehow moves along at a breakneck pace, whisking the viewer along for the ride. Watching “Seven Psychopaths” is like watching someone with uneven legs sprinting down a cement path while being pelted from all sides by paintballs.
And that’s probably why the movie succeeded. It was extremely offbeat and gory — faint-of-heart beware — but it didn’t apologize for itself at all. The movie doesn’t slow down or try to spoonfeed itself to viewers; it just tells a story of seven — well, really four or five — psychopaths and the disastrous, hilarious fireworks that ensue when they collide.
Colin Farrell does a solid job in the lead role of Marty, an alcoholic screenwriter trying to compose a new screenplay about seven psychopaths, but is outshone by his supporting cast. Sam Rockwell delivers some of the funniest moments and is absolutely phenomenal as Billy, dognapper and best friend of Marty. With an equally impressive performance is Christopher Walken, who plays Hans, Billy’s pragmatic yet equally insane — “I don’t drink. I take peyote.” — partner in crime.
Woody Harrelson does a great job as well in the role of a crazy gangster who cares more about his dog than his girlfriend or crime ring. And Tom Waits’ limited time on screen as a retired “serial-killer killer” is equally enjoyable to watch.
Ultimately, “Seven Psychopaths” is worth viewing, but to enjoy this roller-coaster ride of a movie, people will need a stomach for violence and a very flexible sense of humor. Many will walk out of the movie bewildered and perturbed. But for the people who walk out merely bewildered, or bewildered and mildly amused, there is a good chance they will become what could be a rapidly growing crowd of cult followers of “Seven Psychopaths.”
The verdict: Dark, funny, and unapologetic, “Seven Psychopaths” will only appeal to those who can deal with violence and have a broad sense of humor.
Reach reporter Nathan Taft at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @nathantaft
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