Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Under 250: Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths was a film I'd hoped for the best from, but watched prepared to find the worst. There was a chance that its self-awareness could wind up heavy-handedly tipping it off the metafictional deep end into cheeky redundancy. While it may be a touch derivative, the truth of the matter is that Seven Psychopaths handles its shit like a boss: it's a glib, raucously violent, delightfully enjoyable comedy that shakes up its twisted self-criticism with a surprising amount of pathos in ways you just don't see coming.  Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (of In Bruges), the film follows its creator's proxy, Marty (Colin Farrell), a screenwriter struggling with an action script who is aided, for better or worse, by his manic actor friend Billy (Sam Rockwell).  Billy is the kind of guy who supplements his income by stealing dogs and then returning them to their wealthy owners once reward money is offered. When Billy and his partner Hans (Christopher Walken) pick up a psychotic crime boss's (Woody Harrelson) prized pup, things go south and Marty finds himself at a cross section of the real life psychotics he's desperately attempting to put on paper.  If it sounds simple, it isn't. If it sounds complicated, it's so much more than that.  As the film marches on, it makes any number of oddball turns, oscillating wildly between graphic, physical violence and deep pockets of trippy cerebral impulses. While sloppy at times, the characters are drawn well enough to keep even the timidest of viewers engaged, and you'll love Hans for, at the very least, calling out the film on one of its biggest flaws...

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