HST… Film Review: Seven Psychopaths

Alan: Seven Psychopath’s brings up the question, “Who here is really sane?”  Yeah, sure we might think that we’re completely normal human beings…but deep down, I think it’s safe to say that we are all just a little bit unhinged.  We all have some thoughts that might seem crazy to some people, and to an extent that’s what Seven Psychopaths does best, let’s all of the crazy out.

Lauren:  I don’t know… I’d like to think that the shining examples of human brokenness presented here are far out of my range of craziness.  I mean, there’s “Ugh I’ve been stuck in this house with 6 dogs all day” crazy, and then there’s “Exterminators are murderers so I go around paralyzing them, draining them dry, and then eating them the next day for lunch” crazy.

These are the types of characters that Colin Farrell is looking for to fill the pages of the current script he is trying to put to paper, searching the far reaches of his mind and looking to others to come up with the types of human depravity that will both shock and enthrall the viewing audience.  This search starts the numerous occurrences of self awareness and parallels between the film we are watching with the film Farrell is trying to create, providing shocking, albeit, hilarious vignettes and “typical” scenes for our viewing pleasure.

Eventually these stories start to dip into the reality of the film as elements of fiction and reality become one in the same, and we realize that everyone with smaller issues (Farrell is an alcoholic who probably doesn’t remember most nights, Sam Rockwell likes to kidnap dogs in order to collect the ransom later, and Christopher Walken wears ascots) all seem to have bigger demons to deal with.  Oh the human psyche.

Alan:  And their (Farrell, Walken, and Rockwell) stories and inner demons make for a very engrossing train wreck to watch.  Although Farrell is the only one who appears sane (c’mon…ascots?), him trying to interpret everyone’s stories and backgrounds is a hilarious thing to watch.  Tom Waits’ character, who appears briefly towards the middle of the movie, is one of the most damaged side characters I’ve ever seen to only appear in very limited shots.

That’s what this movie is all about, isn’t it?  Everyone here has a story, and Farrell has to dissect each one to find the goodness that these tales do not have.  For Farrell’s screenplay, he wants everything to end in a non-violent way, and as much as he probably thinks that is a possibility, everyone he meets along the way do nothing but prove him wrong.

And there is violence to be had in Seven Psychopaths.  Even in the opening sequence when two hired guns have a discussion about old school ways of torturing someone, to the big shoot out that Rockwell’s character describes (which is arguably the funniest scene in the movie), there is plenty of action and violence at every turn in the film.  Even an action nut, who really isn’t in it for the story, can find some enjoyment with the gun sequences.

Lauren:  True enough.  The violence definitely deserves its praises when it’s due, but I have to say that it is at its best when it is more subtle in this realm, or contained rather, so that there is still something slightly off between the characters personality and the acts he or she commits.  That dichotomy is when things are the most interesting, even surprising, not when a character dips into the realm of evil in presentation and action (which is probably why Woody Harrelson’s character is my least favorite since he is who he appears to be from start to finish, and why the film hits a down point personally when one of the other characters dips into this as well).

Alan:  The humor that was had was also due to the stellar writing and directing from Martin McDonagh.  He took the dark and subtle humor of In Bruges and twisted it into a blunt, violent, hilarious romp that is full of disregarded clichés that makes Seven Psychopaths a brilliant film.  I found Rockwell’s character to be one of the most memorable characters of the year, and his utter off-ness is rather intriguing and fun to watch.  The ensemble as a whole also makes the entire movie that much better (shout out to Walken at the end there).  If you were to take any of the dialogue or major scenes from this film, it would feel incredibly incomplete.  From top to bottom, this is the most cohesive and hilarious comedy of the year.

Lauren:  Hilarious, ridiculous, depraved…  The list goes on and on, making it quite the challenge not to enjoy the majority, if not all, of Seven Psychopaths.  So maybe you were right all along, Alan, we’ve all got a little psychopath in us after all.

Alan’s Final Grade: A    
Lauren’s Final Grade: B+    

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