When I first saw the trailer for writer/director Martin McDonagh’s sophomore feature “Seven Psychopaths,” I knew that I was seeing the trailer for a movie that could be one of the most entertaining of the year. Although not much was made about its release, I knew from the cast and crew that it was bound to be an enjoyable little flick, and now that the film has finally been released, I can honestly say that I love it when I’m right.
“Seven Psychopaths” stars Colin Farrel as Marty, a struggling screenwriter trying desperately to complete a screenplay for a film conveniently named, “The Seven Psychopaths.” When his best friend inadvertently kidnaps a Shih Tzu belonging to a gangster, Marty, finds himself stuck in the middle of the ensuing chaos.
Rounding out the cast are Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, and Olga Kurylenko. Cornish and Kurylenko are barely in the film, however they do the best with the brief roles they are given.
Waits also plays a fairly small role, although his oddball character Zachariah certainly has his moment in the film, even if it is several minutes after the credits begin rolling.
Ferrel gives yet another strong performance to boost his already strong resume, however the true treats here are in Walken and Rockwell. Let’s start with Walken. Walken delivers his trademark clipped and dry delivery and nearly manages to steal every scene he is in from Rockwell, not an easy task to do in the film, as Rockwell essentially becomes the star as the film goes on. Walken’s charcter is by far the most likeable, even if he does kidnap dogs for a living and one surprising twist will surely have audience members feeling for him.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Sam Rockwell’s (“Moon” was one of my favorite films of 2009), and I feel as if this is the best performance of his career so far. His character is obviously the biggest psychopath of the group and his line deliveries and mannerisms are absolutely hilarious. Honestly, I know it’s quite a long shot, but I would love to see him be nominated for an Oscar for “Best Actor in a Supporting Role”
Another potential Oscar contender is McDonagh (who was previously nominated for Best original Screenplay in 2009 for “In Bruges). McDonagh’s script is clever and funny and provides sly commentary on the industry. The film is incredibly Meta, constantly foreshadowing events that surely loom on the horizon and one of the film’s funniest moments involves Rockwell’s character giving a play-by-play description of one of the several possible climactic shootouts. Although it has potential to go way overboard, McDonagh never allows that to happen and keeps a tight hold on the story, knowing exactly where he wants it to go, hoping that audiences will have as much fun watching it as he surely did writing and directing it.
Although the film’s final act lags a little bit in places, “Seven Psychopaths” is still a wickedly fun movie, in fact, I think it might be the most fun I’ve had at the theater all year. Besides, it has Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson fighting over a kidnapped dog of all things. What’s not to love? 4.5 stars out of 5.