Seven Psychopaths: Sam Rockwell out-Walken’s Walken.

Seven-Psychopaths-Posters-SliceSeven Psychopaths – 2012

Written and Directed by Martin McDonagh
Starring  Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko

The craziest notion in the film Seven Psychopaths is the idea that Colin Farrell is any sort of writer.  I can buy the alcoholic part, even if it’s a cheap stereotype about the Irish.   But a writer?  No thanks.  I would believe an uncharismatic pretty boy actor perhaps…but back to the story.  There’s a crazy killer called the Jack of Diamonds going around knocking off members of the mafia.  There is a dog “borrowing” operation that run by two guys named Billy and Hans (Rockwell and Walken).  Billy is friends with Marty (Farrell) and Marty is a drunk.  Oh yeah, Billy stole the dog of a local mafia nut job named Charlie.  Charlie is pretty mad about this.  Stuff happens after that, but I would not want to ruin it for you.

There are some good performances in the film, most notably Rockwell and Walken.  This is Sam Rockwell at his best.  McDonagh’s dialogue rolls perfectly off his tongue.  It’s his performance alone that makes the movie a minor success.  When one  finally understands his warped perspective, it is hard not to agree with it.  Walken is as good as he has been since he’s found his late career fame.  He is subdued, which, in his case, is still more disturbed than most.  Not more than Rockwell.

For his part, Farrell has pulled out one of his better performances since McDonagh’s In Bruges.  He plays along incredulously with Walken and Rockwell, giving them enough of the lead for them to run a bit wild, but not out of control.  He spends much of the film sponging ideas off of his two nutty friends, making the idea of him as a screenwriter much more believable.

McDonagh gives evidence here that In Bruges was not a fluke.  His talent for screenwriting exceeds that of his direction, but he’s better than average there, too.  One of the best parts of the film is his exquisite self-analysis (through Walken) of his inability to write good female characters.  If there is one failing here, it is that there are more actors here than there are plot lines.  Some day, he may hit one out of the park.

(***1/2 out of *****)

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