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Seven Psychopaths is one of the most inventive and funny stories of the year, that is if you can get over the 'C' word. Yeah, that one.
What happens when you use the 'C' word so many times in a film that it becomes par for the course? Just ask the film Seven Psychopaths, which employs that word and a dozen other inappropriate tricks like a hooker uses handwipes, resulting in one of the bloodiest, funniest, and enjoyable films of the year. Not unlike a Quentin Tarantino film, Psychopaths unabashedly steals every element from Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs in a script by Writer/Director Martin McDonaugh (In Bruges) that seems to breathe on its own, ill-content to stay formulaic or even predictable for a second.
Marty (Colin Farrell, Total Recall 2012) is a struggling alcoholic Hollywood writer intent on creating the next great action bloodbath; but, his sense of reality, that somehow his lead character must be a Buddhist monk, has only produced the following: EXT. LOS ANGELES STREETCORNER. DAY. “I don’t want it to be one more film about guys with guns in their hands," he says. "I want it to be about love.” His supportive friend Billy (Sam Rockwell, Iron Man 2) is nothing short of psychopathic, opting for socially inappropriate comments and running a dog kidnapping ring where their owners shower him and partner Hans (Christopher Walken, Last Man Standing) with reward money upon the return of their lost companions. But when Billy steals Bonny the Shih Tzu from the leader of the LA criminal underworld (Woody Harrelson, 2012), Marty, Bllly, and Hans steal away to the desert, ready for a final gun battle that Marty can use in his floundering script.
To say Seven Psychopaths is quirky or unique is like saying The Human Centipede is a weird film. There's so many layers to McDonaugh's script that one cannot expose them simply because the surprises gained for taking a chance on the film are so rewarding. But it's also his casting of Rockwell, Ferrell, and Walken that lends so much zaniness to things that it becomes just another insanely funny layer of a very enjoyable movie. Under any other circumstance, casting such odd personalities into one film might spell disaster; but McDonaugh keeps things moving by letting his trinity ad-lib just enough to bridge us to the film's climactic 'battle,' which is nothing what Billy had envisioned for his friend Marty to commit to paper, as Rockwell holds Bonny hostage with a flare gun. No, I'm not kidding.
By the end, we've witnessed something both incredibly violent but equally hilarious. Get past the oft-used 'C' word and the blood/guts escapade of a serial killer targeting 'high-value mob leaders' by leaving his calling card at his victim's feet, and you'll really enjoy the experience. Seven Psychopaths won't be a big hit, because its subject matter is too far out there for mainstream Hollywood to promote. But it has a unique sense of itself, smartly wrapping several stories around Marty's search for the perfect script. And even though it becomes something right out of Implausibility World mixed with a bit of Over-The-Top Land, we're inclined to celebrate his breakthrough, because its basic premise is as equally disconnected from reality as McDonaugh's work. In this and so many other ways, Seven Psychopaths scores big, but you might want to leave Grandma and the kids at home. It's really inappropriate...but in a good way. Seven Psychopaths is rated R for just about everything except nudity and has a runtime of 109 minutes.
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