Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“I almost got killed today because you guys kidnapped the wrong dog,” says Marty (Colin Farrell), a struggling screenwriter, to his best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) and his partner Hans (Christopher Walken), a religious man with a complicated and violent past. Billy and Hans make their living kidnapping people’s dogs and then returning them to collect the rewards in the dark comedy, Seven Psychopaths.
Marty has a great title for his next screenplay, but no actual script. He’s missing any original stories for the characters – all psychopaths – in his screenplay. Billy would do anything to help his best friend and desperately wants to co-write the screenplay with him, but his side business of kidnapping dogs with Hans for the reward money has been keeping him busy. Things get complicated fast when Billy and Hans end up kidnapping a deadly gangster’s (Woody Harrelson) beloved Shih Tzu. Now with killers hot on their trail, Marty, Billy and Hans flee to the desert as they to figure out a way out of this mess, a mess which might provide Marty with some great source material for his script – providing he survives.
Clever and original, Seven Psychopaths is a sharply written, extremely well-acted entertaining dark crime comedy. Writer/director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) has brought together a great ensemble of actors to bring these quirky, strange and unique characters to life. Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken are perfectly cast as Billy, the outlandish and hilarious loyal friend of Marty’s, and Hans, the stylish, religious man with an extremely violent past who gets poor Marty mixed up in their illegal dognapping business. Their performances are the best in the film, with Walken stealing every scene he’s in.
Colin Farrell has one of his best roles in years playing Marty, the boozing, half-talented writer who wouldn’t have any stories to tell in his script if it wasn’t for his buddies Billy and Hans. Farrell’s reactions to the surprises and revelations that come up during the three friends forced road-trip are laugh-out-loud hilarious. Woody Harrelson has some of the funniest and most violent scenes in the movie as the gangster Charlie who is ruthless and bloodthirsty but truly deeply loves his cute little Shih Tzu.
The only drawbacks to the film are the uneven and at times awkward pacing and the outrageous, over-the-top violence. It’s strong enough to turn off any audience members who are a bit squeamish or are just turned off by extreme violence.
Funny and smart, Seven Psychopaths is a dark, violent, crime film that’s loaded with twists and surprises. It will have the audience laughing and jolting out of their seats.
Seven Psychopaths is rated R for strong violence, bloody images, pervasive language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use.
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