Friday, April 12, 2013

Seven Psychopaths

Get out your guns and screenplays, we're reviewing Seven Psychopaths!
I made Colin Farrell look like a dope! Dammit Josh!

Marty(Colin Farrell) is trying to write a screenplay called "Seven Psychopaths" with his friends Billy(Sam Rockwell) and Hans(Christopher Walken). Fortunately and unfortunately, Billy is in the dog-stealing-and-selling-back business, and when he steals a Shitzu from the psychopathic Charlie(Woody Harrelson), Marty is going to get more reference than he'll ever need!

The trailers for Seven Psychopaths makes it look like a fun silly action film, but it's actually a lot more melancholy and morose.  Usually I'd be annoyed at the misrepresentation, but in this instance I enjoy its moroseness. It's a very meta film, talking about elements Marty wants in his screenplay and then actually having those elements happen on their adventure. It's still a fun film but it has more to say about the film industry than you'd expect.
Why/how did I make Christopher
Walken lok like an old woman.

This has an incredible cast and they all do marvelously in their respective parts. Obviously people are going to come for Christopher Walken, and they will not be disappointed.  This is probably my favorite role of his since Balls of Fury, and easily his most Walken role possibly ever. He's funny, charming, and tragic, and he gets some of the best lines! Rockwell has an insurmountable amount of fun in his role, and Harrelson is doing his best psycho since Natural Born Killers or Zombieland. This may be Colin Farrell's most regular non-actiony role, and I have no problem with that.  You expect him to go off the walls(especially after rolls like Daredevil's Bulseye) but he plays a vanilla straightman to everyone else's colorful psycho.

The script is excellent with tons of great one-liners and forth-wall breaking metaness. They have all these stories within stories about psychos that are either made-up in Marty's script or side characters they meet. And they're all incredibly interesting encapsulated stories! A sort of pyscho omnibus. I enjoyd all of the stories, each of which could be movies on their own. These aren't just tangents either, they all tie in masterfully to the rest of the script. It's very tight, no loose ends to be had, all leading to this moral of peace over violence, especially in this gunloving violence inducing movie culture we have.

The only major gripe I have is the difference between how the movie says it wants to treat its female characters, and how they're treated. In the trailer and art covers, it lists two women(Abbie Cornish as Kaya and Olga Kurylenko as Angela) as being part of the main seven of the so-called seven psychopaths, but those characters(or any female characters for that matter) are barely mentioned and have little screen time. Yet, the movie makes this big deal of how bad it is that female characters get the shaft in action movies; Hans tells Marty his women are poorly written and usually die horrible deaths, and Billy makes a crack that you can't kill animals in movies, just the women. Most of them do die horrible deaths! They point out this problem without flipping or subverting it in any meaningful way. It's a wasted opportunity, and almost worse than movies who do it without realising it.

The movie is beautifully shot and well-paced. Even when the characters high-tail it to the dessert to escape the violence and just talk(a plot point in Marty's script) it doesn't get boring. And it has a fun soundtrack accompanied by a melancholy score.  It has this great visual style overall. What I love most aobut this movie is I didn't know how it was going to end, which is hard to say about any movie these days.  And when it's all over, it's a very satisfying conclusion.

Seven Psychopaths is a strange, entertaining movie. It's worth it to see all the different psychopaths' stories and how they flip the expected story. It is definitely worth a watch, maybe even a few.

THE GOOD: Great cast with great performances, has great style, great script, very meta, fun but also tragic, Christopher Walken, nice action.

THE BAD: Treats women poorly while pointing out that women are treated poorly.

THE VERDICT: $$$$$ The thing with women is really annoying, but it's still a really really great movie and definitly worth a watch. If I had seen it last year, I probably would have put it on my top ten.

MOVIES LIKE IT: Pulp Fiction, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Shoot Em Up, Natural Born Killers, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: Billy describes the perfect shootout that should end Marty's movie, incredibly bloody and silly and fun to describe, and it's also how basically any other action movie would have ended. The real ending has shades of it because Billy wants it to be true so bad, but they have their own take.

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