“Seven Psychopaths’” writer and director Martin McDonagh recently walked the red carpet at the San Diego Film Festival, promoting his latest production amidst the exhilarating support of his many followers. McDonagh is most notably known for also writing and directing a similar dark comedy, “In Bruges,” with returning actor Colin Farrell. During a lightning-fast interview at the SDFF, McDonagh was caught in a sea of redundant questions from press. I thought it would be fun to test his sense of humor, so I asked him, “Do you feel any friendly competition between your brother, who wrote ‘The Guard?’” Laughing, he responded, “No, no, I know I’m the best, so there’s no competition.” McDonagh’s response, though certainly good-natured, reflected his brilliant work.
Farrell, who we often see in films portraying a variety of antagonists, is surprisingly the “normal” guy in this film. Farrell plays Marty, an Irish scriptwriter living in L.A. with a definite drinking problem. Marty is also somewhat cowardly, until he sees the need to react. Marty battles writer’s block while trying to cook up a script containing seven of the craziest characters he can. Marty’s best friend, Billy, played by Sam Rockwell, is eager to collaborate on a script, but with a few twists and turns of his own. He puts an ad in the paper with Marty’s phone number and requests self- proclaimed psychopaths to call and share their stories.
As a side project, Billy takes part in a real dog-napping scheme, alongside Hans, played by Christopher Walken. Both unintentionally bring Marty into a messy situation, giving him something to worth writing about. The fun really starts after the trio snatches the beloved shih tzu of the crazed and questionably flamboyant mob boss, Charlie Costello, played by Woody Harrelson.
“Seven Psychopaths” is more comedic than dark. It definitely doesn’t fall short of action and keeps the audience constantly laughing. This script is witty and inventive, humorously obscene at times, and although it seems to depict the murder-spree storyline everyone’s already seen, it’s worth watching to see this new cast of characters take on the roles of good guys versus bad guys until the final showdown.
Overall, this film puts Rockwell on the map as a respectable actor. Farrell continues his steady stream of typecast roles, but it works. Harrelson, who deep down everyone wants to befriend, is same ‘ol Harrelson, ‘nuff said. Tom Waits attempts to compete with Walken for the spot of coolest dude on the planet, but ultimately, Walken’s lines are delivered better than in most of his other films. Walken’s performance in “Seven Psychopaths” proves he can never be a bad guy, just a “badass” guy.