7 Psychopaths (2012)

Martin McDonagh set himself a difficult path to follow with his feature debut, ‘In Bruges’. That film, starring Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes and Brendan Gleeson has gone on to become a cult classic and is arguably one of the best films of the last decade. In Bruges had a distinctly European feel in terms of its casting and locations and McDonagh was clearly comfortable in every aspect of the production.

But how would he cope when he was working with big name American actors and dealing with American studios? Quite well apparently.

Colin Farrell was once again McDonagh’s star but this time around he also had Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Abbie Cornish, Woodie Harrelson and more.

The film centres on an alcoholic Irish screenwriter who inadvertently becomes embroiled in the Los Angeles underworld after his friends steal the wrong dog. The premise is simple enough but the execution is anything but. Full of philosophy and off-beat humour as well as a steady stream of references and witty profanity, 7 Psychopaths may not be quite as memorable as McDonagh’s debut but at the very least, is a worthy successor to In Bruges.

It’s nice to see Farrell playing Irish in an American movie. For some reason, he seems to lose much of his natural charisma and personality in his recent roles playing an American, but there are no such worries for this role. Walken is just as brilliant as you’d hope he’d be with McDonagh’s material, Harrelson is as entertaining and compelling as ever but the film’s true star is Sam Rockwell. Playing the role of Farrell’s friend Billy, Rockwell chews through scenery as though his life depended on it.

Funny, sad and never close to dull, 7 Psychopaths is a dark, witty and moving film. It keeps you guessing at every turn and has more laugh out loud moments than five of your average Hollywood comedies. The script, art design and sound track all do justice to the casts’ wonderful performances and whilst this didn’t do great business on its release, it has ‘cult classic’ written all over it.

 


 

Review by Dave Coughlan

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