Sunday, October 28, 2012

Seven Psychopaths

       The latest black comedy form writer/director Martin McDonagh falls short of his excellent prior film,"In Bruges" but never the less contains moments of sheer brilliance. There are gems of one-liners and moments of comedic madness that are orchestrated by a first rate cast. Colin Farrell stars as Marty, an alcoholic screenwriter, working on a new script entitled "Seven Psychopaths". His co-stars are Sam Rockwell, his best friend, who is easily a total psychopath and Christopher Walken, Mr. Rockwell's partner in a dog kidnapping scam.

       When Mr. Rockwell kidnaps the beloved dog of a psychopathic gangster, played by Woody Harrelson, everything spirals out of control and even as the body count rises, you find yourself laughing at the great dialog and insane circumstances. Mr. Farrell actually plays the straight man here to all the madness around him. Mr. Rockwell all but steals the film with an outrageous performance behind an innocent facade. Mr. Walken is the definition of weird behavior. His deadpan humor and timing are comedic masterstrokes. And like many directors before him, Mr. McDonagh obviously prefers to work with many of the same actors in all his vehicles. There are some wonderful cameos from Tom Waits, Harry Dean Stanton, Michael Pitt, Michael Stuhlbarg and Gabourey Sidibe. Unfortunately the women in the film are underused and underwritten but Mr. McDonagh freely admits that in a clever confessional piece of dialog.

       Happily no animals are ever in harm's way but you can't say the same for many of the human characters. Mr. McDonagh's writing is not for everyone. His Broadway shows and films are comedies of the darkest human condition. He doesn't shy away from bloody violence to illustrate his points and while the violence of "Seven Psychopaths" may shock you, it all makes perfect sense in Mr. McDonagh's world. 

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