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2 out of 4 stars
"Seven Psychopaths" is a wild ride, not for the average moviegoer and not for the faint of heart.
Colin Farrell plays Marty, an alcoholic screenwriter living in Los Angeles who is working on a screenplay which shares its title with the name of this film. His friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell), an unemployed actor and sometimes dog thief, longs to help Marty complete the screenplay. Billy places an advertisement in a local publication seeking real-life psychopaths and, after Zachariah (whom Tom Waits gives an odd, creepy quality) and his rabbit respond to the ad, Billy and Marty become wrapped up in tense, bloody encounters involving fire, endless gunshots and blades of all shapes and sizes.
Two of the psychopaths (Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken) add much needed humor and lightness to what is, otherwise, a very dark movie. Director Martin McDonagh makes clever use of pop music (including original recordings of "The First Cut Is The Deepest" and "Different Drum") and classical themes by Hector Berlioz to effectively paint several of the scenes. The way the story unfolds is clever, too, with its use of jarring cuts from one psychopath to another, all labeled by large typewriter print disclosing their psychopath number, sometimes before their scene is played out, and occasionally after. Despite these inventive qualities, though, the film leaves you feeling unsettled and empty, not necessarily because it lacks a Hollywood happy ending, but perhaps because of a desire for the film to say something more (or maybe just something else).
"Seven Psychopaths" earns its "R" rating for some gratuitous nudity, as well as graphic violence and bad language.
-- Paul Tate, Sugar Hill
3 out of 4 stars
"Seven Psychopaths" is an entertaining movie that I would see again -- it is almost two hours and I was never bored. The plot is original and refreshing, like a movie within a movie. It mixes serious, funny and violent content into a well-told story that flows from beginning to end. It starts with a bang, literally, then commences with fragments of stories that connect soon after. The main characters are multi-dimensional and little twists occur that might make you want to see it twice. Note that there is graphic violence, foul language and partial female nudity.
Christopher Walken is superb. I feared that his name was included primarily to lure movie-goers (like me) but he has a prominent role. Sam Rockwell is likewise excellent and sinks his teeth into the role. I was not as impressed with Colin Farrell, but his eyebrows are quite expressive.
Woody Harrelson is good as one of the psychopaths and effectively goes from sympathetic to crazy to get his way. Tom Waits, with whom I am unfamiliar, also provides a notable, though brief, performance. The two female roles don't add much to the story and their characters are not given great dialogue or acting opportunities.
Tip: Don't jump out of your seat when the credits start rolling because there is an extended scene with Farrell and Tom Waits.
-- Francine Benoit, Lawrenceville
1 and 1/2 out of 4 stars
Although the acting talent is over the top, this movie fails to deliver for a variety of reasons. First, who would think Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell and Sam Rockwell could not combine to make a decent film? Well, this movie is proof-positive that sheer acting talent alone cannot carry a movie that is so flawed.
The movie does not have a viable story to begin with and it jumps endlessly trying to create buzz that does not surface. Of course, there are a handful of adult comedic scenes but this flick is a dark tale about fictional dark men told in a dreary dark manner.
The premise here is a writer, Marty (Farrell), has the idea of writing a screenplay about seven psychopaths, but the fellow has a few problems. He is an alcoholic, so, his writing prowess is terribly inhibited. He has an annoying friend, Bill (Rockwell), who wants to help since he, in fact, is a closet psychopath. Then they both have a friend, Hans (Walken), who mumbles incessantly about a bunch of nothing.
So here -- you have nothing from nothing leaving the film in total despair. Nevertheless, as bad as it is there is one truly great song at the end when P.P. Arnold sings the "First Cut is the Deepest." That aside, download the song; don't waste your time on this awful work.
-- Rick Wright, Auburn