It’s hard to know what to make of Seven Psychopaths as a film. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it was never aiming to in the first place.
The film is about reveling in the darkest and most comical elements of human existence.
With the greatest of ease, the film playfully pokes fun at death and the fragility of the human condition at some moments, while making them seem real and painful at others.
It’s a film that recognizes common human insights, yet ignores them just for fun.
For a film about psychopaths, it makes a lot of sense.
This is the second time director Martin McDonagh has teamed up with fellow Irishman Colin Farrell.
The duo also worked together in 2008’s In Bruges.
This film, like In Bruges, is done in typical McDonagh style with a sort of adroit humor that doesn’t prove to be particularly impactful unless you’re looking for it.
The picture relies on the ridiculousness of its plot for some of its more obvious comical moments.
It revolves around struggling Los Angeles screenwriter Marty Faranan (played by Colin Farrell).
Marty is seeking inspiration for his screenplay.
He’s desperate for a spark of brilliance that will take his script from the production stage and into the hands of a Hollywood executive.
Farrell is joined by other talented actors, such as Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson.
After a night of a little too much drinking, Marty finds himself kicked out of the apartment he once shared with his girlfriend and onto the couch of his best friend, Billy Bickle (played by Sam Rockwell).
Billy has always admired Marty’s talent for writing and wants nothing more than to be a part of the creative process in his screenplay.
Ultimately, Billy will get his wish when he sets in motion an unstoppable cycle of events.
Billy is a dognapper who steals pooches from their unsuspecting owners and returns them for a money reward.
A cut of this monetary recompense goes to Hans (played by Christopher Walken), an older man who seems to be Billy’s mentor in all things relevant to the dognapping world.
By this point, the film is already mounting in ridiculousness, but it somehow works with the comic genius of Walken and Rockwell.
When Billy steals the canine companion of mob boss Charlie Costello (played by Woody Harrelson)—a Shih Tzu by the name of Bonny—it sets in motion a chain of events that force Marty, Hans and Billy to go on the run.
This provides Marty with plenty of inspiration and more than a few opportunities for Billy to give his unique perspective on how a movie about psychopaths should end.
McDonagh, who also contributed to the writing of Seven Psychopaths, crafts his characters with great skill and seamlessly weaves their stories together in artful way.
The film outsmarts the traditional Hollywood business model by providing dialogue that actually inspires thought and comprehension without alerting the viewer.
However, the film lacks cohesiveness because there are too many subplots.
It effectively functions as a screenplay within a screenplay, as each of the personages in Marty’s play takes on a life of their own.
Some of them turn out to be real life people who reveal themselves throughout the course of the movie.
Others stand as no more than a symbolic representation of abstract ideas like revenge and justice.
This is where the movie starts to become a cerebral mess. The distinction between which characters are real and which aren’t becomes blurred.
The film’s ending leaves much to be desired as well. It leaves without a strong finish and merely fizzles out.
The picture is an incredible ride that warrants an equally extraordinary ending, but that’s not what happens.
The audience is left with more questions than they are answers, and many of the loose ends that are introduced throughout the movie never get the kind of closure that they deserve.
Maybe that was McDonagh’s point. It’s not about the resolution itself, but the crazy process it takes to get there.