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TIFF 2012 Review: Seven Psychopaths. A clever caper comedy

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Seven Psychopaths review - Filmmaker Martin McDonagh reunites with Colin Farrell for clever caper comedy

Somewhere, the dormant gods of screwball comedies, forgotten movie masters like Preston Sturges and Ernst Lubitsch, catch a glance at writer/director Martin McDonagh’s crime comedy Seven Psychopaths and smile. At a time when the gross out gag is king, McDonagh unloads the cleverest comedy script of the year and puts wordplay into the spotlight.

Following in the footsteps of his 2008 gangster comedy In Bruges, McDonagh fills his Seven Psychopaths script with plenty of gunfire and bloody splatter. After all, Seven Psychopaths is the tale of some crazy, violent people. Still, beyond the gunplay and the killing, it’s the witty laughs and inspired performances that take command of the story. With the help of Colin Farrell, who last worked with McDonagh on the comedy In Bruges, he provides a much-appreciated shot of normalcy as the straight man unprepared for all the criminal lunacy that makes Seven Psychopaths unforgettable.

Marty (Farrell) is a struggling Hollywood screenwriter caught up in the dognapping schemes of his friends Billy (Rockwell) and Hans (Walken). On the uptick, Billy and Hans provide Marty with plenty of inspired material for his script. The bad news is that their goofball hijinks may cost him his life.

Woody Harrelson brings a sinister spark as the gangster intent on revenge when his beloved Shih Tzu goes missing and the trail leads back to Billy and Hans and their crazy schemes.

Sam Rockwell is at his loopy best as an underemployed actor and full-time loose cannon whose dognapping scheme skids out of control with bloody consequences.

Christopher Walken is deadpan hilarious as Hans, the most violent Quaker one will ever meet, and it’s amazing how funny he can be with just the slightest facial gesture and brief line of dialogue.

If there’s one disappointment to Seven Psychopaths, it’s McDonagh’s underuse of his trio of female stars Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko and Gabourey Sidibe. The best screwball comedies have girl Fridays at the front and center of the mischief and it’s a shame McDonagh did not do a better job with the talented actresses he gathered for Seven Psychopaths.

Standing tall in the center of the screwball action is Colin Farrell, who’s at complete ease as the Hollywood screenwriter struggling to deliver a good action script despite severe writer’s block. Watching Farrell deliver one good-natured laugh after another in Seven Psychopaths makes one forgive him for his stuff action man performance in this summer’s Total Recall remake.

Perhaps, if Farrell’s lucky, he’ll have the chance to work in as many Martin McDonagh movies as possible. In terms of movie comedies, they may be the best creative pair working today. After watching Seven Psychopaths, it’s impossible not to leave the cinema wanting them to get back to work on a new movie as soon as possible.


Distributor: CBS Films

Cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko and Gabourey Sidibe

Director: Martin McDonagh

Screenwriter: Martin McDonagh

Cinematographer: Ben Davis

Editor: Lisa Gunning

Producers: Blueprint Pictures

Running Time: 109 minutes

Rating: Rated R

Release Date: November 2, 2012


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