Seven Psychopaths is the latest film from director Martin McDonagh. His previous film In Bruges was a refreshingly dark comedy centered around a disillusioned hit man. Seven Psychopaths continues on with this tone. It is bold in it’s attempt to juggle a meta film, but may have thrown one too many ideas in the mix.
Marty (Farrell) is a struggling writer who dreams of finishing his screenplay, “Seven Psychopaths.” All he needs is a little focus and inspiration. Billy (Rockwell) is Marty’s best friend, an unemployed actor and part-time dog thief, who wants to help Marty by any means necessary. Hans (Walken) is Billy’s partner in crime: a religious man with a violent past. They accidentally steal the dog of a crime lord and have to go on the run or be killed.
It is hard to find some sort of connection or sympathy with Marty the main character and thus anything that consequently happens to him is rendered emotionally inert. But the secondary characters of Billy and Hans provide enough variation and comical relief in this trio that by proxy you want his tale to continue. Walken in particular excels as Hans, his odd ball self fits perfectly and his character background is shockingly unforgettable.
The film tries to constantly check itself against it’s own measure of success, after all it is about a writer struggling to write a film. Problem is it feels exactly as such, that things are just occurring and they pop up as thought bubbles trailing off.. Random events feel like filler to the main plot and there are just one too many tangents. But the dialogue is sharp and the violence is delectably brutal.
It holds its own as a distinct style of filmmaking for Martin McDonagh. His dark wit and interesting characters are enjoyable to watch, but it is let down by too much deviation. Somewhere in there is a better film.