By Ethan Harmon
Independent films have a very love-it-or-hate-it relationship with audiences. Movies like The Master and Arbitrage score big with critics, but let-downs like Killer Joe leave a bad taste in the mouth, making viewers wonder if they should see another indie-affair. Because of the questionable nature of the indie genre, and the mass appeal of the more mainstream titles, most will likely flock to the cheap scares of Sinister instead of giving into curiosity and watching Seven Psychopaths, which would be a huge mistake.
In this twisted dark comedy, Marty (Colin Farrell) is a recently dumped, alcoholic screenwriter who is attempting to write his latest and greatest script, titled “Seven Psychopaths.” There is only one problem: he only has the title. Realizing that his pal is running into a bit of writer’s block, best-friend and dog-napper Billy (Sam Rockwell) attempts to help with the process, suggesting some psychos to add into the story. But things become too crazy when Billy snatches the wrong dog, placing mad gunman Charlie (Woody Harrelson) on their trail. Scared and on the run, Marty alongside Billy and fellow dog-thief Hans (Christopher Walken) try to figure out their situation while writing the perfect ending to the screenplay.
A movie as crazy, surreal, and hilarious as this could only come from the mind of writer/director Martin McDonagh. Layering the film with some very humorous – and at some moments, very dark – situations, McDonagh has crafted one of the most enjoyable films that has been released this year. The director has a clear story in mind, and he creates it with ease by setting up fantastic, emotional scenes throughout the film.
This movie succeeds not only because of its story, however. The star-power from each actor is what truly makes this film shine. Colin Farrell plays his role well, making Marty the most relatable, rational character present. But it is Sam Rockwell who steals each and every scene. He plays Billy with gusto, creating a very psychotic, funny, witty, and charming individual. His “proposal” for the screenplay’s ending is one of the funniest and most memorable moments in the film’s 110 minute runtime. Christopher Walken is great as, well, Christopher Walken. It’s not something that hasn’t been seen before, but he still pulls off his scenes with flair. Small moments with Woody Harrelson and Tom Waits (the bunny-petting Zachariah) are fun, if not totally gruesome.
Seven Psychopaths is not your typical comedy romp. It is not full of lame jokes or cheap gags. It is, however, an adult, dark comedy with very humorous scenes, meta references, surreal storytelling, gory confrontations, all centered around an A-list cast. Ditch the regular movie-going experience and take a trip on the wild side. Go see Seven Psychopaths, but first, make sure your dog is safe. You don’t want Billy or Hans to take it.