* Prices may differ from that shown
Star - Colin Farrell
Genre - Comedy/Action
Run Time - 110 minutes
Certificate - 18R
Country - USA
Amazon DVD - £5.58 DVD - £12.68 Blue Ray
Awards - 1 BAFTA nomination (Best British Film)
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'7 Psychopaths' is from Irish writer/director Martin McDonagh, he of 'In Bruges', the rather enjoyable hitman movie, and producer of his brother John's rather quirky comedy 'The Guard'. Here, like his main character played by Colin Farrell who is a screenwriter with ambition, McDonagh takes on Hollywood to try and prove himself in America. It's their second film together and you get the feeling Farrell talked him into this project as this is basically more of the same hit man stuff, minus the quirky Irish accent, which made In Bruges work so well. It's very rare films don't work with that broad Dublin dialect and accompanying idiocy.
Its one of those films that gets good reviews and the premise quite fun but when you actually watch it, it's not quite what you had hoped for, but just as likely to be above expectations for others. If you don't get, or like, what it's trying to do then you may as well turn off after twenty minutes. The film press was mostly positive and so natural for one to take a look, the likes of Farrell, Rockwell and Walken always magnetic on screen. I will leave it up to you this time.
Colin Farrell...... as Martin "Marty" Faranan
Sam Rockwell..... as Billy Bickle
Woody Harrelson........ as Charlie Costello
Christopher Walken........ as Hans Kieslowski
Tom Waits......... as Zachariah Rigby
Abbie Cornish........ as Kaya
Olga Kurylenko........ as Angela
Zeljko Ivanek......... as Paulo
Linda Bright.......Clay as Myra
Long Nguyen......... as the Vietnamese priest
Harry Dean Stanton.... as the Quaker
Amanda Mason Warren....... as Maggie
James Hébert......... as Killer
Martin (Colin Farrell) is an Irish screenwriter living in LA, an alcoholic and a bit nervy. He had a hit a few years back with a blood splattered comedy to set him up in Los Angeles but now battling writers' block as he strives to ditch the blood bag thrillers and cook up something life affirming.
His best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), an unemployed actor, is eager to contribute on Martins current piece called 'Seven Psychopaths', suggesting he use the real Jack of Diamonds serial killer currently active in Los Angles in the script. Behind his friends back he puts an ad in the paper, listing Martin's number, and requesting deranged tales from likewise characters for inspiration, who duly start pitching up. Billy and his best friend Hank (Christopher Walken) run a dognapping business on the side and it's this, and not the ad, that winds up granting Martin up close and personal contact with a world he's only ever written about, after Billy snatches the beloved Shih Tzu of mob boss Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson). Bad idea!
Charlie loves his dog more than anything else in the world and will do anything to get Coco back, which usually involves extreme violence or death. Billy and Hank don't worry about people like Charlie and chase their ransom regardless, eventually agreeing to showdown in the desert after Charlie brutally kills someone close to them, Martin finally grasping the fact that the subliminal influence for his screenplay has come from the psychopaths he never knew he had all around him.
Alas this is trying too hard to be Get Shorty and ends up liking its balls way too early thinking it's a hit. It's like listening to a CD you have been told is really good and the type of music you like and yet when you play it, not so and leaves you cold. It was a big disappointment to me. As I say the cast is brilliant and the premise interesting but the self aware stupidity becomes tedious and Farrell and Rockwell wasted here, Christopher Walken now typecast as the psycho so having no choice but to take the film on. The violence is maximized in a minimal way and the whole thing unsure what it is, basically plagiarizing previous films. There were simply no wow moments in this.
I was reluctant to rent this from day one as I have a six sense when it comes to hyped movies. But all the ratings were good across the internet movie sites and so I took the plunge. There are some good bits and there are some naff bits, the film deliberately playing on those crime movie cliches for its biggest laughs, which are few and far between. It thinks its quotable but the script suffering the same writers black as our Martin. The writing didn't work for me as the concept wasn't done smart enough and so I started to get bored early on.
This would have been a much better effort if it was given the B-Movie treatment from someone like Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez. The fact its $15 million budget did just $19 million back suggests I was not alone in not digging this, a poor return for a lads film with such a cool cast and themes. The good news is McDonagh has got game and I suspect he won't revisit this territory in a hurry.
Imdb.com - 7.2/10.0 (129,398votes)
Metacrtic.com - 66% critic's approval
Rottentomatos.com - 83% critic's approval
-The Making of the 7 psychopaths-
Behind the scenes stuff with full cast and crew
- Woody Harrelson as Charlie-
- Colin Farrell on Martin-
A look at where the film was shot.
Not many so not enough!
Daily Telegraph -'Self-aware stupidity does not equal wit'.
The Guardian -'After a while the narrative falters, the ideas flag and it simply gets dull'.
The NewYorker -'A breezy, quotable, blood-soaked treat'.
The Sun -'McDonagh has enough ideas for six films, but with them all crammed into one, the effect of each is lost.
The Baltimore Times -'If it doesn't quite match In Bruges in terms of total success, it's still potent enough to indicate that McDonagh managed to dodge the dreaded sophomore slump'.
The Daily Mial -'Too much is so clever-clever that it borders on the stupid'.
Fan The Fire -'The sense that the different elements don't really add up to much may well leave some feeling cold; for others, the sharp dialogue and comic beats will produce a similar fondness for the characters that In Bruges' best scenes did'.
FilmReviews.com -'.an entertainingly erratic effort'.
Irish Times -'At times, the galloping absurdity drifts into off-the-peg comedy gangster cliché. But McDonagh's brilliant way with one-liners always claws back enough ground to stifle any groans'.
This film has hardly been on the radar for most movie goers who were no doubt more focused on the release of the first film in "The Hobbit" trilogy at the time. Still this is still not the most surprising reaction to this films release considering the last film we saw from director Martin McDonagh was equally overlooked "In Bruges", which honestly was not a film I exactly dug, thanks largely to the fact it could never quite decide what sort of film it wanted to be. Still it would seem that McDonagh may have learned something from his debut as he returns here with a film which only improves on what "In Bruges" hinted at before.
Marty (Colin Farrell) a writer struggling to finish his screenplay entitled "Seven Psychopaths", while receiving inspiration from his friends Billy (Sam Rockwell) and Hans (Christopher Walken) make a living kidnapping dogs in order to collect the owner's cash rewards. However when the duo unwittingly steal the beloved Shih Tzu of gangster Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson), Marty soon finds himself along with his friends entangled in a confrontation with the LA criminal underworld in a multistring tale which shares more than a few ideas in its construction with Spike Jonze's "Adaptation" due to both films switching between real life and fiction, with the two worlds interlinking, the film frequently switches between the film version of Marty's screenplay and real life were he makes various attempts to finish he script. which is far from easy considering he hasn't even come up with one of his proposed psychopaths. Slowly over the course of the film these psychopaths are slowly revealed while the lines between fact and fiction become even more worryingly blurred.
These stories of the psychopaths and their legacies make up the majority of the film as starting with "The Jack of Diamonds Killer" the real life balaclava clad killer currently running around the city with a passion for killing mid to high level members of the mob and a gentle introduction of those who are to follow as we are soon introduced to the first of Marty's fictional creations "The Quaker" a highly religious hitman who unsurprisingly dresses as a Quaker, who is soon joined by the also religious themed Vietnamese Priest on a quest for revenge against the American platoon who killed his family in the Vietnam war. The most interesting of these colourful characters though is Tom Wait's killer of serial killers after Billy randomly places an advert in the newspaper
CALLING ALL PSYCHOPATHS! Are you MENTAL or DERANGED? Maybe you have been recently hospitalised but are now Okay? Or perhaps the world just doesn't understand you?"
Sadly McDonagh misses a trick here as rather than a queue of crazies, we instead get a solitary visit by Wait's rabbit carrying Zachariah, who gives us yet another member of the titular seven, as he tells the tale of how he rescued a girl named Maggie (Warren) from the basement of a serial killer and how the two of them as a couple went across the country killing some of the most famous serial killers including more humorously a rabbit obsessed "Zodiac". While Waits appearance here is pretty much a brief one, it is still like all of the psychopaths still none the less memorable, perhaps even more so thanks to his pennant for constantly carrying around his white rabbit.
Clearly realising that a collection of short stories about psychopaths would be a hard sell on its own, McDonagh's attempt to string them together with the dog snatch plotline does at times lack some of the polish that he gives to the short stories, especially when it lacks any of the smart humour that is given to the rest of the film outside of a running joke about a frequently jamming gun. Still the film is generally at its strongest when it is left to the antics of the three friends trying to piece together the screenplay and it's here that the choice casting really comes into play with Farrell once again wheeling out his befuddled charm as he lives in a state of constant frenzied panic, especially as his screenplay spins wildly out of control. Meanwhile Rockwell continues to be equally enjoyable as the loud and brash Billy, while our man in focus for this month Walken gives another thoughtful performance which he seems to give more frequently these days and here it works especially well, especially when facing down armed gangsters with nothing but an stone faced glance, as he continues to prove that he has just as much presence on the screen even when he is not giving one of his more dominating performances, which he might be more memorable for.
As the main villain Harrelson is truly believable, even if the role had originally been written for Mickey Rouke, who dropped out thanks to creative differences with McDonagh and was replaced by Harrelson which ultimately makes for a stronger choice for the role and even more so when it comes to the frequent mood swings which Charlie is prone to, but then Harrelson has always done great crazy!
While it is also inevitable whenever violence is being made to look cool, that comparisons to Tarantino will be drawn but here McDonagh still manages to give us an original spin to proceedings, thanks largely to how he has chosen to shoot the film, with the frequent cut always to the cinematic interpretation of Marty's script often proving to be the most fun, especially when Billy gives his idea for an ending, which inturn gives us possibly one of the most random shootout's ever put on screen, especially with Marty being shown trying to write the script in the midst of it, while Walken's Hans emerges from a coffin like a vampire. However due to this shooting style it will no doubt confound the less open minded movie goer's who would no doubt prefer a more straightforward approach to the story and essentially only furthering the films status as a cult movie in the making, while making me seriously reconsider McDonagh's reputation as a director, this is one certainly worth hunting down.
I recently signed myself up to Netflix as its an icon on my laptop since getting Windows 8 and so it was literally staring in my face every time I logged onto my laptop. I was looking through the films available a few days ago wanting something to watch, and having heard relatively good things about it, I decided to watch this film. Seven Psychopaths is a relatively star-filled film with the likes of Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, and Christopher Walken. I really consider Walken a film legend and Harrelson is in some of my favourite stuff, so it was inviting when I read their names in the description. I wasn't so sure about Colin Farrell if I'm honest, but upon watching the film I have to say I've changed my mind somewhat and really began to like his character by the end.
The premise of the film is a screen writer in need of a new film is recommended by his best friend to 'borrow' the stories of some famous local villains and 'psychopaths' to use in his film. The film employs clever tactics throughout whereby certain actors have conversations of exactly what I was thinking at that time in the movie. For example, when Farrell's character Marty reveals his film's title, I too appeciated the cleverness of the name for how glaringly obvious it was as his friend Billy does also. Similarly, later on once his character is properly acclimatised to the film, Walken's character Hans mocks the lack of female characters in the film Marty is writing and ridicules their lack of strong roles in his film. This was an interesting tactic from the film's writer really as it actually pointed out a criticism of this film as the storyline within Marty's book and the progression of the film itself run parallel.
The issue of more female leads is an interesting one as there is one female character who without any dialogue I felt made an important impact on the film and also helped to convey the humanity of one of the psychopaths. She is arguably more psychopathic than he and was in my opinion the most brutal of the seven listed. Further, had the female characters included in the film been given more precedence it could have potentially lessened the storyline. For example, Marty's girlfriend makes the occasional appearance at the beginning of the film and is antagonistic towards his best friend and so had she persisted throughout the film, she could have detracted from their relationship and so restricting or preventing a major theme of the film.
The story's progression is interesting with twists throughout that I did not expect. I particularly loved Woody Harrelson's role of the disheveled dog-loving psychopath who plays the main antagonist of the film. He brought the film some much needed laughs and surprisingly I felt he was the least psychopathic of the lot. The plot was an interesting one, and remarkably was quite similar to another Irish film I watched over the weekend which involved equally bizarre scenes of violence that were almost comedic. That said, it was still unique in how they presented it and also how things escalated, keeping my interest throughout.
There is a lot of changing from past to present which I think was executed well and made the film feel quite unpredictable, although I do understand it could easily also be annoying to some watchers as it was hard to keep up with at times. There was one big revelation in the film that actually threw me and managed to catch me by surprise that I enjoyed, and looking back was glaringly obvious for all to see. Another technique that could perhaps cause confusion is the storytelling technique that is used wherein you see action as another character recalls a story from the past, in the present. There is one scene where it plays out as described and is later corrected to include additional characters and changing facts (such as the look of the characters involved) when the person involved remedies the mistakes of the first telling. This made for an interesting twist but at first was a bit confusing. I think that they managed to seem this quite well in with the rest of the story though, making up for this.
I think the comedy in the film is a little Black, and there are some scenes were the violence is quite shocking. I found this quite enjoyable though as it was hyperbolic and exaggerated to the point where it was silly rather than disturbing. The strong cast and acting also balanced the violence and were equally excellent in conveying the more emotive and more humourous scenes.
I would definitely recommend this film as it ended up being quite a bit better than I had expected. The massive exaggerations and ever-changing story-telling were interesting and funny to me, but I do understand that not everyone would appreciate this. There were some scenes that tackled more serious, sympathetic issues, and others that were ridiculous and very garish, but both were done well and had a purpose. The only downside I could find really is the lack of female leads, although I feel this was a conscious decision as the characters themselves highlight this issue within the film.
The basic plot of this film is a simple one, however it starts a little crazy and flits from pillar to post at the beginning wondering what on earth you are watching. Colin Farrell (Marty) plays a struggling screenwriter who's all out of ideas for his latest movie. He does however have the title 'Seven Psychopaths', but has literally nothing else to back it up, he doesn't even know who the characters within it will be. With a little help from Sam Rockwell (Billy) and Christopher Walken (Hans), they set about giving him ideas to make his movie a success, albeit in less than normal ways.
The film has two flip sides which it switches between regularly. On one side it's an out and out comedy which doesn't take itself seriously, at all. On the other side, it's a slightly darker crime thriller with some deeply disturbed characters within it. The blend between the two is what makes the film, and after the first half it stays more in comedy mode than thriller mode, and even winds up goofy at some points. I don't usually like films like this and prefer a more 'serious' film, but this was just good plain fun with an excellent cast to carry it through to its crazy end.
Pulling apart the plot a little more, the contrast between Marty who although he has a few alcohol related issues is generally a pretty good 'normal' guy, but is friends with Billy who is completely crazy! Billy runs a dog kidnapping business with his friend Hans and before they know it are being chased around the city by Gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson) and Marty finds that he too has become involved.
Between Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell and Sam Rockwell, this cast is excellent, and they all manage to play characters that are completely mental in their own ways! Each has their own story to tell, some of which can be quite moving, some of which are quite shocking. The female characters within the film while not really involved in the film apart from being bit parts just weren't cast right in my opinion, but the strong male cast more than makes up for this blip. I did wonder however if the female characters were meant to be weak though as Hans says something along the lines of Marty's female characters being too weak in his screen play, so I do wonder if the choice was intentional in the actual film. The three main characters all work well together and were definitely the right trio to be put together and Harrelson was fantastic as the psychotic gangster with a bizarre love for his shih Tzu!
There are some quite shocking scenes within the film and in a way which is similar to Tarrentino, there are moments of over the top gore. Despite this it is still quite a fun film and doesn't take itself seriously.
This film is well worth a watch. I wouldn't be surprised if this film ends up becoming a cult classic alongside films like Kill Bill. Its relatively low $15 million budget and being made by Film4 as well as its ironic storyline certainly give it the markers to become one in the future.
Stay with the film till after the opening end credits, which are interrupted to bring you quite a good final scene.
Rated 7.2 / 10 on Imbd.co.uk
110 mins runtime.
Finally got around to seeing Seven Psychopaths last night. The movie in a word? Mixed. Some great ideas get floated around but the film seems to be to all over the place to decide what it wants to do.
I Thought In Bruges was pretty good. It was tight and intelligent and I was hoping to see an expanded version of that. If In Bruges was focused this movie is the opposite.
Collin Farrell Plays an alcoholic screen writer trying to finish his script, Seven Psychopaths, but is struggling. Sam Rockwell plays his cool but seemingly dimwitted friend. Now if your reading this I'm going to assume you watched the trailer so I'm not going to waste time re telling you someone stole a fuckin' dog.
Now this is one of those movies that tries to delve into movie stereotypes and situations. The characters talk alot about movies. How a shoot out is supposed to happen at the end and other conventional ideas like that. Now I got no problem with that, I enjoy movies like that, but Seven Psychopaths just seemed to miss the mark on execution. The conventional things they mention I assume there going to do something new with it but instead it feels like the characters just kinda do what they want. The word random comes to mind but its not the word I want.
Seven Psychopaths is not a bad movie. I'd say the first two acts are very solid. The story is very unconventional, I was very interested in the twisting plot but once the 3rd act rolls around the film starts to lose the intrigue. Plot elements are set up and brought together but they really just don't add anything to the story. You find out guy A has been secretly guy B in a story all along but then they do nothing with it and it doesn't do a thing for the story.
For example, Lets pretend your watching a movie about you and me living in sleepy hollow. In it, I tell you a tale about the headless horsemen. Then later you find out from your friend that I actually am the headless horsemen. Exciting right? But then absolutely nothing is done with it. We never hear of the horsemen again or why I am him.
That's the best way I can describe what Seven Psychopaths does. They would connect very interesting plot points but then that's all they would do, connect them, then never mention them again. Now this isn't with all character's and plot points, some are used very well but I will say that this is my biggest issue with the movie. Maybe I'm missing some grand message but, I just don't get it.
Seven Psychopaths wants to leave you with things to think about but afterwards I couldn't for the life of me tell what the hell they wanted me to think about. Now aside from my issues with some of the plot, the movie is good, But I would only recommend it to a friend that know's film. An average film goer will come of out Seven Psychopaths confused and probably a little irritated. For the movie man though, there is plenty to discuss and talk about, as is with all movies that have movies in them. Its one of my favorite games to play with the audience is when a character in a film gives a line like "If this was a movie...." So much depth. I love it. Will I be re watching this movie? Absolutely. While I'm a little confused right now I still think there's more to find in Seven Psychopath's than one viewing can grant me.
Seven Psychopaths is a solid follow up from Martin McDonagh. The Film is filled with lots for cinephiles to discuss but I feel an average movie goer will be walking away with a mixed bag.
Every so often, Hollywood throws up an a film, something which breaks away from Twiglet Part 87: Breaking Bore or the latest re-imagining of a superhero that was last re-imagined two years ago. Sometimes this works and produces a cracking film that justifies the risk; sometimes it doesn't and justifies Hollywood's unwillingness to take risks. Sadly, some promise, Seven Psychopaths is more the latter than the former.
Screenwriter Marty is struggling to write his latest script Seven Psychopaths. When one of his friends dognaps the prized pooch of a local criminal thug, Marty unwittingly is drawn into the criminal underbelly and finds himself confronting a number of real-life psychopaths.
Seven Psychopaths is one of those films Hollywood had no idea what to do with. On the strength of the trailer, you might reasonably expect a funny, but bad taste comedy (something similar to an early Farrelly Brothers film. If you do, you are going to emerge badly disappointed. Yes, Seven Psychopaths is a comedy of sorts, but it's a black comedy with a multi-strand story narrative and lots of plot twists. Style-wise, it's a mish-mash between things like The Usual Suspects, Adaptation, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and, of course, Farrelly Brothers films. And yes; it is just as messy as you expect from a film using all those different influences.
The blame for much of this lies at the hands of writer/director Martin McDonagh who is severely lacking when it comes to self-control. There are lots of good ideas in Seven Psychopaths and more than a few good things that make it at least tolerable. Unfortunately, it's all a bit of a mess. It's as though McDonagh had several ideas for which direction the film might take, couldn't decide which one to go with and so he tried to include them all.
Possibly the kindest way to describe Seven Psychopaths is "self-indulgent". It flits backwards and forwards in time, between reality and dream sequences; some segments are slow and dialogue heavy, others look they were filmed by a caffeine-fuelled Guy Ritchie on a day when he was really, really wound up. Whilst there is a plot, at times it appears to be the random outpourings of whatever happened to be on McDonagh's mind at the time. In short, Seven Psychopaths is not as clever as it likes to think it is.
There is a strong vein of deep black humour running throughout the film and there are some clever digs at the film-making business which are amusing. The script is also cleverly constructed in the way it builds links between seemingly unconnected events. However, it desperately needed someone else to take a second pass at it to iron out some of the excesses and make it more consistent and more coherent. I'm sure it must all have seemed very funny in McDonagh's mind when he wrote it, but somehow something has got lost in the transition from mind to page to screen.
The acting is similarly variable, with few real standout performances and a couple of rather oddball ones. Stuck in the straight role of the writer caught up in all the chaos, Colin Farrell does his best as bewildered writer Marty, but his character never really rings true and no amount Farrell's Oirish charm can redeem the role. As his friend Billy, Sam Rockwell is doing what Sam Rockwell does best - overacting. Essentially, if you like Rockwell, then you'll love his role in this; if you don't, then watch out. It almost goes without saying that Christopher Walken is excellent as the almost Zen-like Hans. It's a truly bizarre character and an even more bizarre performance, yet Walken pulls it off, managing to be simultaneously menacing and calming. It's a shame more of the focus is not on him, because Hans is easily the most interesting character in the film and his potential is not fully realised.
Perhaps the oddest performance comes from Woody Harrelson as bad guy Charlie. I really like Woody Harrelson, but I have absolutely no idea what he was aiming for here. One minute Charlie is as camp as Christmas, snivelling and falling to pieces over his little missing doggie, the next he is killing someone in cold blood and raging against insignificant things. I know that this is meant to demonstrate extremes of character and is a valid acting technique, but it never works here. Yes, Charlie comes across as unhinged, but it's a performance that is so odd, so OTT, and so hammily over-acted that you feel sure Harrelson must be touting for a role in Panto next year.
Seven Psychopaths is not a terrible film and, with a bit more polish and self-control from the writer-director it could even have been a good one. It's certainly not the worst film I saw in 2012 (that honour would go to the abominable Haywire), but neither am I ever going to want to watch it again.
Director: Martin McDonagh
Running time: approx. 110 minutes
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