Seven Psychopaths

In this off-beat thriller, Colin Farrell plays a writer collecting stories from bona fide psychos that he finds while working on a screenplay. Ultimately, he is trying to adapt their stories to fit a bigger vision he has for how everything is supposed to come together. But, as anyone who’s done creative writing knows, you often end up going down a different path than what you originally intended, which of course, is what happens to his character here…

As he finds the various subjects of his story, another story emerges as a friend of his (played by Sam Rockwell) ends up dog-napping a mobster’s favorite dog which sets things spinning in a number of directions. The film’s plot line ends up in a series of twists and turns (which keeps everything pretty fresh and interesting) as we move towards the inevitable epic conclusion. The writing of the film itself is pretty original even though we’ve seen films like this before. It’s the characters that really drive this movie. The various psychotic players that come in and out (along with their backstories) are one of the things that makes this film worth watching. The dialog is well written and intelligent with each line seemingly very natural for the actors delivering them accompanied by a very natural flow to the events that take place.

The actors are a big part of why Seven Psychopaths works well as an entertaining movie through and through. There’s some pretty major talent here that all deliver memorable, dedicated performances including the aforementioned Farrell and Rockwell who are both solid alongside Christopher Walken, Tom Waits and Woody Harrelson as the bad guy with the unhealthy dog obsession. Walken is especially fun to watch and demonstrates why he is one of the kings of quirkiness with his naturally off-beat delivery and swagger. Woody Harrelson is great as usual as the crime boss with anger management issues.

The style and presentation of the film is both slick and edgy and keeps you guessing as to the direction of which way things will go and who will get away with what. Just when I thought I had some things figured out, the direction of the film would go the way I thought it would but with some details I didn’t see coming which is one of the things that kept my interest piqued.

I whole-heartedly recommend Seven Psychopaths. The only caveat here is that if you’re squeamish about violence or bloody scenes, you may want to stay away from seeing this one, they don’t really hold back too much here and it does get pretty gruesome, we are dealing with psychopaths after all…

reviewed by Sean McKnight