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Seven Psychopaths (2012)


Year: 2012
Director: Martin McDonough
Cast: Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell
Rating: R
Time: 109 mins

Seven Psychopaths has three main key points that make up a terrific comedy: a versatile cast, witty one-liners, and a very "meta" story. But instead of executing a perfectly humorous picture, the lackluster story tries to cover up it's faults by making us laugh till we forget. Marty (Colin Farrell), an alcoholic writer is having a hard time writing his screenplay Seven Psychopaths (how meta). He has a couples of ideas and characters in mind about a vietnamese buddhist monk and ruthless quaker killer who's seeking redemption, but other than that, he's got squat. His tip-top loopy friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell) has his hands full dognapping with Hans (Christopher Walken) in hopes of receiving a reward when the dog is returned. But one day, when Billy kidnaps the wrong dog owned by high ranking gangster boss, Charlie (Woody Harrelson), their seemingly normal lives get flipped upside down.

The idea of a crime story about psychopaths based solely on the incidence of a wrong dognapping sounds outlandish and ridiculous. But with a vomit of absurdity spilling from these acutely pitched personalities especially Sam Rockwell, the descending storyline doesn't seem so bad.  Rockwell steals the show as the bouncy, borderline psychotic, wacky friend that's crazy enough to write dognapping in his resume. He's like Flubber without the green jello, his words and actions bounce from wall to wall, which makes  it strenuous to keep up with him. But it is his unnatural energy that pulls the rug from under you so you can bow down to his glory, making him the star of this film. Christopher Walken never ceases to please whether he is playing an amiable and compassionate man or a merciless assassin.  Either way, he doesn't have to do much to keep us entertained but be his old offbeat self.  On the other hand, Colin Farrell has a lot to prove after this year's remake of Total Recall (how could you do this to me?). At first he didn't seem credible as a "Hollywood screenwriter", but as the film progressed his one dimensional trait of being an alcoholic because it's in his Irish blood was the only thing that helped  him stay relevant in the story. 

The 'story within a story' stories can be interesting if presented in the right manner. Marty desires to write a story about psychopaths but have the ending not be about the violence but about peace. As Billy points out that, that is the most unappealing basis of a psychpath film and I couldn't agree more. But what Marty wanted to express in his story is that revenge and redemption is a cyclical movement that cannot suddenly be resolved even with time. His story about the quaker killer which was shown as a montage came off as too comical to be considered seriously. But his second story about a Vietnamese monk who once was a vietcong, out seeking revenge against the U.S. Army after his family got slaughter at My Lai, was one of the highlights to the film. That and Sam Rockwell. Billy takes a crack at helping Marty elaborate on the story which foreshadows the films ending. And like Marty, McDonough seems like he's still trying to find the best way to end this film even half way through it. A lot of people enjoyed the humor and the thrills that came with it, but it just did not resonant with me as much as I wanted it to. I mean, the opening scene had Michael Pitt (surprise!) so, I thought it would be good. The blunt sexism and racism wasn't even what threw me over the edge but the unsatisfactory unending. Regardless  of what I say, go see it and have a good time because I'm sure you will. Plus, the Shih Tzu is super cute.  B-


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