Seven Psychopaths

A murderers row of comedic talent stars in this dark comedy about dognapping, alcoholism, serial killers, revenge, screenplays and friendship.

It’s as chaotic and unpredictable as counting on star Christopher Walken to put the accent on the correct sylLAble, but I had an absolute blast with it. It’s a mortal lock to become a cult movie.

Screenwriter Marty Faranan (Collin Farrell) has writer’s block. He has a great title for a movie, “Seven Psychopaths”, but not much else. Of the seven psychopath characters he envisions eventually having, he currently has a grand total of one. His friend, Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) wants to help. A dognapper by trade, Billy wants to co-write the screenplay. He also wants to help Marty stop drinking, and get him to ditch his girlfriend.

Unfortunately for them both, and for Billy’s partner in crime, Hans (Christopher Walken) Billy dognaps the wrong dog. The dog he takes is a shih tzu belonging to a possessive local gangster, Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson). Charlie immediately embarks on a mission to get his dog back and to kill whoever took him.

So Marty, Billy and Hans try to elude Charlie – a real killer – while trying to talk out a screenplay about killers.

It’s as crazy as it sounds.

“Seven Psychopaths” frequently switches back and forth between the story that it’s telling and the story that it’s characters are telling. As Marty, Billy, and eventually, Hans discuss the screenplay, the movie illustrates the spitballed scenarios while the characters narrate their pitches. The suggestions range from solid to half-baked and back again. Some are pure fiction, others are based on actual experiences, but all of them are hysterical. Characters get into huge, ridiculous shootouts, or conduct remorseless vendettas, or patiently wait revenge for decades. It’s a humorous, stylistic, hyper-realism that gives the movie a style of its own, yet at the same time makes a meta commentary on Hollywood offerings.

The remainder of “Psychopaths”‘ style comes from its colorful characters… both “fictional” within the screenplay, and the characters themselves, who are certainly an assorted bunch of oddballs. Each are crazed to varying degrees in their own right. Watching them cross paths and interact is a riot. Especially given the talents of the cast. Woody Harrelson isn’t involved as much as I’d have liked, and Olga Kurylenko basically just cameos, but Tom Waits certainly makes a memorable impression with limited screen time.  The stars of the film are Walken, Farrell and Rockwell. Walken is… on his A        Game. He brings his trademarked delivery to a great character (a pacifist with a past) and adds a winner to his filmography. Farrell is also solid as the beset-upon writer trying to figure things out at the bottom of the bottle. But the real highlight of the movie is the performance of Sam Rockwell. To call him crazy is a severe understatement. He rambles, he’s overly enthused, he gets moralistic at inopportune times, he’s a total mess. And Rockwell plays him as such. He’s a total spaz… it was such a treat to watch. This is a role that definitely add fuel to the “Why doesn’t Sam Rockwell get bigger roles” fire.

Crazy, occasionally incoherent, but always, always funny and savagely entertaining, “Seven Psychopaths” is absolutely worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of dark humor.


43 thoughts on “Seven Psychopaths

    • YES! Hahaha… that was incredible, wasn’t it? He was so freaking great here. So glad you agree, I mean, I still cant believe how much he cracked me up. I’ll tell you, I may wind up calling that one of the best performances of the year before its all said and done. I think that much of it. 😀

  1. Great review my man. It’s a great cast, a great script, and great direction that just comes together oh, so perfectly, almost in a way that you can’t deny to have fun with. In Bruges was a bit better, but this flick still has it’s own charm worth seeing to believe in.

    • Oooooh. Now, that’s a good debate, I think. In Bruges or this, In Bruges or this…. I think you’re probaly right. I may need a second viewing though to feel 100% comfortable choosing between.

      This was funnier, for sure, but Bruges had more tension.

      Glad you agree though. I really, really liked this one. 😀

  2. Billy Bickle? Any relation to Travis? I got a great idea for a flik. We hire a bunch of really good actors, say 7 of them, tell them they’re all psychopaths and turn them loose! Nah. On second thought it would never work. Who’d believe it? Well, I guess I would!

    • It’d be hard for me to believe they didn’t choose the characters name based on Taxi Driver. Definitely.

      It’s hard to explain the goings on… theyre not completely turned loose so to speak. It’s… there’s a lot of storytelling. But its all so funny! You’ll love it, check it out when you can.

    • I read in Empire that apparently Rockwell’s character claimed Travis Bickle was his dad. Not DeNiro but Bickle himself. I think in hindsight, they decided to drop this info.

  3. Saw it and loved it. Gave it a solid 9 but maybe has a chance to be an honorable mention in my Best Of list. I laughed throughout the entire film. Especially loved the part when Walken is told to put his hands in the air. This definitely will end up in my collection.

    • Dammit, yeah, I forgot. I saw you had reviewed this prior to being able to get my review done. I had wanted to swing back.

      I’ll check it out soon, PG.

      Meanwhile, that’s too bad man. It really cracked me up. Big time! LOL

  4. I cannot cannot cannot seriously cannot wait to see this…it’s going to be like In Bruges but without kids dying and a happy ending, am I right?

      • Great, no kids die…that’s all I needed to know. I’ll be seeing this! 🙂

        And Colin Farrell…we all agree that he is awesome, right? That Irish accent gets stuck in my head for days anytime I watch one of his films…him and Jude Law are just vocally blessed.

      • Remember SWAT from a while ago? God, I feel embarrassed just bringing this up…that and Minority Report were the first things I saw in him…and I’m ashamed to say that the fact that SWAT has Farrell AND Renner in it has made me watch it way too many times – er, I mean, more than once. Even when he’s American he’s still awesome…

        (And don’t even think that I’m recommending SWAT. Don’t watch it, unless you’re a Farrell/Renner shipper like me!) 😀

      • Ohhh I’ve seen SWAT, yeah. LOL I dont know if that makes me a “Farrell/Renner shipper”, but it was cheesy B movie goodness. I enjoyed it well enough for what it was supposed to be.

  5. Saw this and loved it for the characters and the performances. The story cheats all over the place and when they can’t decide where to go next, they try something else, and then throw in another switch when that was not enough. For my movie dollar, Christopher Walken should be in every movie. Even just if it is an insert of his smile. That Sam Rockwell is not yet the owner of a thousand awards and the biggest character actor in movies is a crime. A crime that should feature seven psychopaths but instead of criminals, they would all be movie directors (or Polanski can still be a criminal, and maybe John McTernain. But everyone else just has to be a regular psycho director.) And then, at the Academy Awards, they all have a Tarantino style Mexican Standoff over who will accept the award on Rockwell’s behalf. Sorry, I guess I’m still trying to make sense of the plot for Barton Fink as played by Colin Ferrel.

    • Lol!!! That’s a great, movie appropriate response, right there! 😀

      100% true. The characters and dialogue win the day here, cause the story IS all over the place. But that’s alright at the end of the day… It’s SO much fun!

      I’m with you, I’m hoping one day Sam Rockwell gets an Oscar. Big time. The big time Oscar, lol.

      A shootout at the ceremony would be a plus. 😉

    • Hmmm. I really was looking forward to it heading in, so the trailers must have been alright in my book. I recommend it. I think its wickedly funny. Violent and dark and twisted, yes. But funny as hell, too.

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