So I watched Seven Psychopaths…
One of the biggest criticisms of Hollywood at the moment is that there aren’t any original films circulating in the market. There is a large element of truth to this with the countless superhero movies, sequels, prequels, remakes and spin-offs that have over-saturated the market. Not to mention the films who don’t fall into these abvoementioned categories but that are so formulaic that they might as well. But I do think there are still more than enough original pieces of work being produced by Hollywood and even though this movie isn’t a new release anymore, it’s part of a number of weird, wonderful and, most importantly, original movies that I’ve seen recently.
Okay, basic plot: Marty (Collin Farrell) is a screenwriter with a slight drinking problem who’s having trouble finishing his latest screenplay, actually he’s having trouble starting it and has only managed to figure out the title – Seven Psychopaths (yeah, this movie is meta as hell). Marty’s best friend’s Billy (Sam Rockwell) who along with an older gentleman – Hans (Christopher Walken) – kidnaps dogs for a living and returns them to their owners for a reward. Unfortunately one day, Billy and Hans steal a dog from a murderous gangster who is willing to do anything to get his dog back. The trio must now try to evade the gangster and work on Marty’s screenplay using the real psychopaths they meet in their adventures to finish the script.
This movie is odd. It has this extremely intelligent sense of self-awareness and serves as a commentary both criticising Hollywood and itself. In essence, this is a movie about itself. The best way I can describe it is the same way someone first explained The Kardashians to me – “they’re a family of celebrities who are famous for being famous”. Marty’s screenplay which some could argue is actually this movie’s screenplay influences and is influenced by the events of the movie so that’s what I mean when I say it’s a movie about itself. It’s a movie about a movie that will happen while the actual movie is happening. I know what you’re thinking…and no, I’m not high. It reminded me a lot of Birdman with the way it commented on films and the film industry and also its movie-within-a-movie style.
But it isn’t just an existential meta film, it’s also a straight up comedy flick. It reminded me a lot of Pulp Fiction too because it has numerous random stories that seem completely unrelated when viewed individually but then are all connected when viewed in their entirety. This movie is really funny and intelligent and never lets you settle. Most movies fall into a pattern or follow a formula but this movie chucks these established norms out the window and takes you on a ride where you never know where you’re going to end up. Actually this movie doesn’t completely chuck established norms out the window, it tells you how predictable and farce they are and then puts its characters in these situations ironically, which just further proves its point. This movie has a real ‘hipster’ vibe, in that, it avoids doing things that most movies do and when it does do things that most movies do it does them just to be ironic. There are so many times in this movie where writer and director, Martin McDonagh, leads you down a path and you start thinking, “oh, here’s the formulaic plot I’ve seen a million times”, then just as you settle, things flip and you’re suddenly in a twist you didn’t see coming.
This movie is also very well-acted. Collin Farrell plays the boozy, out-of-sorts screenwriter character to perfection and Christopher Walken is as always a class act. But probably the best member of this cast has to be Sam Rockwell as the idiotic and sometimes psychopathic Billy. Rockwell has this tantalising craziness that he brings to every role. I love seeing him play deranged characters because it never feels like he’s reaching for insanity, he’s already there. Seriously, if Sam Rockwell killed a school bus full of kids, I wouldn’t be surprised because playing crazy that well, so many times is a danger sign. Woody Harrelson rounds up this all-star cast as Charlie Costello, the murderous gangster hoping to get his dog back. Harrelson is a delight to watch on screen. From his days on Cheers, I just enjoy watching him work. He has incredible range and comedic skill.
Overall, this is one of the strangest and most entertaining movies I’ve seen in my life. It has great humour, great acting and is really well-written. It’s one of those movies that you watch and then need to watch again very soon after so you can see how everything is interlinked. Definitely worth a watch, 8/10