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Written by: Sam Fragoso on October 10, 2012

October 10, 2012 | 16 comments | Featured

Beyond Seven Psychopaths’ meta-moviemaking madness, Martin McDonagh’s second impressively rich and deviously fun stab at filmmaking may just be the best anti-violence film with an excess of violence ever made.

Shot in a noir Los Angeles, an alcoholic screenwriter named Marty (Colin Farrell) inadvertently gets entangled with the dangerous So-Cal mafia when his two friends, professional loony dognappers Billy (Sam Rockwell) and Hans (Christopher Walken), kidnap gang leader Charlie’s (Woody Harrelson) Shih Tzu.

In the midst of attempting to return Charlie’s prized and beloved dog, the triumvirate of psychopaths brainstorm screenwriting ideas to assist with the production of Marty’s latest, yet to be started, movie script. Eventually landing on the concept of seven psychopaths that are, paradoxically, the purveyors of murder and tranquility, McDonagh has fun interweaving an assortment of eccentric characters.

Chief among them being a Quaker that stalks his victim for two decades (just to make the convict go crazy in anticipation of death), a Vietnamese Priest bringing vengeance on the USA, a rabbit-fetishing serial killer, and a hooker recently graduated from Harvard. More delicious character developments are scattered all throughout the film. Albeit that I’ve mentioned a few individuals here, I’ve merely scratched the surface on what McDonagh is able to do with his vast, immensely talented cast.

The UK born filmmaker blends his dark sense of irreverent humor with a surprisingly thoughtful story of friendship seamlessly. And despite that he has only made two-feature length films at the age of 42, the knowledge of cinema expressed and applied is shocking.

As for the film’s inherent meta components, think Adaptation meets any British comedy gangster film. Whether Seven Psychopaths is attempting to articulate something poignant towards the movie industry is a bit hazy – and ultimately drowned out by the chaotic frenzy of humor, wit, and action on display.

Yet, although the film has all these disparate elements and vignettes, McDonagh is able to diligently cobble together a cohesive picture. At the core of the tightly knit narrative is a story about three oddball characters coming together to write a script and, if the opportunity so arises, return Bonny the Shih Tzu to her reckless, severely psychotic owner.

When the film played this past September at the Toronto International Film Festival it was met with roars of praise by all audiences. In describing the response of the folks at the Midnight Madness premiere, McDonagh told us there’s something “joyful about the film and there’s something joyful about the audience reaction.”

Most of us know that the hype surrounding a motion picture scarcely lives up to the hyperbolic rhetoric it receives. Seven Psychopaths isn’t one of those films – it’s a reprieve from normalcy and a celebration of originality and style. It also happens to be one of the most entertaining and enjoyable films to watch unfold on the silver screen this year.

Rating: ★★★½

Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Cast: Michael Pitt, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sam Rockwell

Director: Martin McDonagh

Writer: Martin McDonagh

Runtime: 109 minutes

Genre: crime, comedy

Trailer Seven Psychopaths


There are 16 comments for this post.

  1. Courtney on October 10, 2012 9:05 am

    This is the first film I’ve seen this year that I WANT to see more than once in the theaters. Sure, movies like The Master definitely need a second viewing for appreciation and understanding, but Seven Psychopaths… hilarious and so fun to watch! Best ensemble cast!

  2. Sam Fragoso on October 10, 2012 9:15 am

    I’ve seen The Master twice in theaters …. looking forward to catching this film again soon.

    Thanks for stopping by and reading Courtney.

  3. le0pard13 on October 10, 2012 9:21 am

    This is one of my most anticipated films this Fall. Fine review, Sam.

  4. Sam Fragoso on October 10, 2012 10:20 am

    With good reason. Appreciate all your re-tweets of my work. Much, much appreciated.

  5. sati on October 10, 2012 2:29 pm

    So happy this one is good! I can’t wait! Charlie Costello’s tweets are hilarious and I love In Bruges.

  6. Sam Fragoso on October 10, 2012 2:30 pm

    I desperately need to see In Bruges.

  7. Ruth on October 10, 2012 4:43 pm

    I am almost bouncing up and down in my seat (I say almost because I’m in the library and don’t want to attract attention) – so glad that you liked this, I can’t wait to see it! Fine work as usual, Sam!

  8. Sam Fragoso on October 10, 2012 8:18 pm

    Haha, I’m so glad you’re pleased by my review Ruth. Lets just hope you like the film.

  9. James on October 11, 2012 9:59 am

    I’ll put this on my must-see list. Your review makes me want to see the movie even more.

  10. Sam Fragoso on October 11, 2012 10:17 am

    I’m glad Ward. I’ll probably be seeing it again tomorrow evening with friends.

  11. Morgan R. Lewis on October 11, 2012 4:43 pm

    This one was under my radar until just the last week or so. Now I really want to see it — it looks like a lot of fun.

  12. Sam Fragoso on October 11, 2012 5:19 pm

    It’s a whole lot of fun Morgan Looking forward to your response, if you do decide to go and see it.

  13. Weekly Weblinks: Munsters, Marvels, and Morons | Morgan on Media on October 12, 2012 5:35 am

    [...] Psychopaths is out this weekend. Check out Sam Fragoso’s review and his roundtable interview with the cast (warning: possible spoilers in the [...]

  14. Sam Fragoso on October 12, 2012 9:36 am

    Thanks for the shout out Morgan!

  15. Dan on October 13, 2012 5:00 am

    I’ve really liked Martin McDonagh’s work in the past so I’m looking forward to catching up with this one. Glad it shapes up nicely!

  16. Sam Fragoso on October 13, 2012 12:39 pm

    It does shape up nicely … as this comment section has demonstrated, I definitely need to see In Bruges.

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