With such a talented cast and being so impressed by 2008's 'In Bruges' and the recent 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri', hopes were high for 'Seven Psychopaths' despite its severely wanting marketing. A large part of me really enjoyed it on the whole, but there are a few misses and part of me was disappointed.
It is director Martin McDonagh's weakest film of the three feature films he directed, but that is comparing it to 'In Bruges' and 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' and that it is still good if patchy is testament to how good (if also divisive and imperfect) those films are. It is very easy to see why people would be underwhelmed by 'Seven Psychopaths', not just for its unevenness but LAO for its unsubtle, very violent, very foul-mouthed nature and lack of political correctness, just as much as it is easy to see why others will enjoy it.
'Seven Psychopaths' has a good deal to like. It's very gritty and stylish visually, with the editing succinct and not choppy, perfect for the genre and what it's lampooning and challenging. The soundtrack is both catchy and atmospheric and McDonagh's direction is consistently assured.
Much of the script hits more than it misses. Although lacking in the emotion of 'In Bruges' and especially 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri', the dark comedy often ranges from very funny to hilarious and there is also moral complexity, very clever and razor sharp wit, lampooning, lambasting and subversion of all the genre clichés and how the script should play out. The violence is unsettling but not too gratuitous and the story is deliberate yet gripping. There are memorable scenes, especially Sam Rockwell's dream shoot-out scene, a comedic delight if there ever was one.
Regarding the performances, Rockwell is great fun, and seems to be having a whale of a time, and Christopher Walken oozes charisma. Woody Harrelson is also great.
There are drawbacks here in 'Seven Psychopaths'. There are patchy parts in the script, where the wit slackens and the writing becomes too conventional and even for what it's poking fun at (the genre clichés) it does get too clichéd.
Especially misfiring is how the female roles are written, although intended to mock how they're written and used is not very tasteful (can sort of see where the misogyny complaints come from) and they are so under-utilised that it gives the female cast very little to do.
Colin Farrell is nowhere near as good as he was in 'In Bruges'. The character is very bland and uninteresting, and Farrell just doesn't have the charisma of Walken, the likeability of Harrelson or the comic timing of Rockwell to pull the character off or make much of him. The ending is both contrived and abrupt, very true of McDonagh's other two films as well and indicative that ideas had run out.
Overall, good and enjoyable but uneven. 6.5/10 Bethany Cox
Action / Comedy / Crime
Action / Comedy / Crime
A struggling screenwriter (Colin Farrell) inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his friends (Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell) kidnap a gangster's (Woody Harrelson) beloved Shih Tzu.
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January 14, 2013 at 08:42 PM