Movie Review: Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Posted: December 28, 2013 in Comedy, Drama
Tags: ,


Marty (Colin Farrell) is a screenwriter who has writer’s block, he’s got the title written, Seven Psychopaths, and nothing else.  Marty’s friend, Billy, (Sam Rockwell) is anxious to help him write the screenplay.  Billy and his assistant, Hans  (Christopher Walken) kidnap dogs and then bring them back to unsuspecting owners for a reward, but the latest dog they kidnap brings them trouble.  The Shih Tzu belongs to a mob boss named Charlie, (Woody Harrelson) and this mob boss loves his dog, enough to kill for it.  To make matters more hectic for Marty, Billy puts an ad in the paper for psychopaths and their stories, for source material.  Marty gets some source material, but finds most of the psychopaths closer to home.  Does Charlie catch up to Billy and Hans?  Does Marty and Billy finish the screenplay?

I did not like Seven Psychopaths.  Even at its best, which is a satire of gangster-type movies, it is extremely derivative of the king of the genre, Quentin Tarentino.   Tarentino’s movies are hyper-violent blood-soaked revenge fantasies, but they always seem to make me laugh.  Seven Psychopaths is like a pale impression of a Tarentino movie, cool music, lots of foul language, bushel-baskets of bloody violence.  But it seems to be like Tarentino’s little brother, in movie terms, everyone associated with the movie is trying a little too hard, the writer/director, and the actors.  They are all trying a little too hard to make this movie funny.  Sometimes the effort pays off, more times than not, it doesn’t.  Sometimes the subplots, are more interesting than the main plot, and the movie has way too many characters, and some weird interrelationships. I have to say, I did like the ending, which I did not expect, because it came out of left field, but it was a nice way to end the movie.

The acting is ok  Colin Farrell is playing an Irish screenwriter, which is not much of a stretch for him, because he’s Irish and he’s an actor.  He plays a straight man, he’s a pacifist, and he’s reacting to the craziness surrounding him.  Christopher Walken has the same delivery in every movie and it’s almost become self-parody.  I will not give away too much about Walken’s character, but suffice to say it is hard to believe that he’s this type of character. Sam Rockwell has a penchant for overacting, and he does not disappoint in this movie, he tries really hard to steal every scene in the movie, and after two hours, the over the top delivery gets tiresome.  Woody Harrelson is good as usual, he plays a cool, laid-back-killer, whose detachment makes the performance

The direction shows a few flourishes, and the pacing is slow, so the direction is nothing noticeable, unlike Tarantino.  The writing is flawed, sometimes very good, sometimes very bad, marred by loads of violence, and bad language and a little nudity, all become substitutes for actual plot, which is never a good idea.

With graphic language and violence and some nudity, this movie is not a good idea for kids.  With a title like Seven Psychopaths did you really expect it to be a family film?

Seven Psychopaths.  Either crazy good or crazy bad, not enough of either.


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