Directed by: Martin McDonagh
Written by: Martin McDonagh
Featuring: Colin Ferrell, Tom Waits, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abby Cornish
When I first saw the trailers for Seven Psychopaths, I immediately fell in love; the cast, featuring Tom Waits, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and a whole bevy of other fantastic people, was enough to make me mark the date on my calendar. However, life happened, and I never made it to the theaters to see it during its run. Thankfully, it just came out for home viewing, so everyone can enjoy the quirky, delightful black comedy that is this film.
Set in L.A., Seven Psychopaths follows prodigal screenwriter Marty (Colin Ferrell), who hasn't written anything in a year thanks to a drinking problem and is already a year overdue on his latest manuscript. His girlfriend, Kaya (Abby Cornish), is getting frustrated with his lack of ambition, and his best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) is a con artist who kidnaps dogs and then holds them hostage until their owners cough up a reward. Marty has the title for his new script, "Seven Psychopaths," but has no idea what the film should actually be about or what will happen in it.
One drunken night, he breaks things off with Kaya and ends up asleep at Billy's house and, upon waking, Billy tells him that he took out an ad in the paper soliciting psychopaths and people with unusual stories to contact Marty and tell him their tale for use in his film. This leads to the appearance of Zachariah (Tom Waits), an eccentric old man carrying a rabbit who shows up at Marty's doorstep and tells him tales of his youth, when Zachariah and Maggie, the love of his life, traveled the country killing all of the famous serial killers, including the Zodiac Killer, before going their separate ways.
Another exciting character in the film is Hans, also known as The Quaker (Christopher Walken), who is working with Billy in his dognapping scheme while tending to his very-ill wife. Hans is a humanitarian and a sensitive, poetic soul as well as an all-around odd duck. Regardless, he quickly endears himself to Marty. It's discovered that Billy has swiped a Shih Tzu named Bonny, a sweet-tempered little furball who happens to belong to one of the biggest nutjobs in the world, Charlie (Woody Harrelson). Charlie wants his dog back and will stop at nothing to retrieve her, going on a blood-soaked warpath to try and discover who took Bonny.
Usually I hate when reviews call a movie "quirky," but that's the perfect description of Seven Psychopaths. It's filled with beautiful cinematography, top-notch performances, strange and wonderful characters, and an exciting, interesting plot. The pervasive feeling of dark comedy and off-the-wall situations is reminiscent of offbeat flicks like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but the addition of actors like Harrelson, Walken and Waits keeps it fresh, and Ferrell's turn as an alcoholic writer who's out of his league when thrown into a life of crime and chaos is both hilarious and completely convincing. Still, the one who steals the show is Sam Rockwell. His performance is subtly brilliant, and he shows great emotional range and creativity with what the clever script gives him.
I'm still sad I didn't catch this in theaters, but it's a movie I hurried to add to my personal collection. If you're into offbeat humor and unlikely criminal capers, Seven Psychopaths is for you.