Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths 29
Seven Psychopaths 29 (Photo credit: GabboT)
Woody Harrelson by David Shankbone
Woody Harrelson by David Shankbone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to see Martin McDonagh‘s latest, Seven Psychopaths, last night, as part of the Corona Cork Film Festival.

I’m a huge McDonagh fan, having seen his Leenane trilogy more than once and In Bruges at least three times. The darkness of his work is tempered perfectly by its humour – and the violence, too.

Having left a cinema about 10 minutes into the first Kill Bill movie, I’m really not a fan of violent films in general, and Seven Psychopaths is nothing if not incredibly violent. But the violence is comic. Shootings, throat-slittings and setting people on fire occur numerous times throughout the film, but the thread of ridicule the entire way through – apart from one serious political scene – is enough to make it palatable, and regularly laugh-out-loud funny.

Much has been said about the ensemble cast of Seven Psychopaths, and it’s a pretty impressive lineup; Colin Farrell is excellent, in the role of Marty, which could only have been written for him (slightly innocent drunken Irish writer with a soul – my main issue with the film is this rather irritating stereotype) a cameo from Gabourey Sidibe is excellent; Woody Harrelson, one of my favourite actors, is a brilliantly ridiculous but sinister gangster; and Sam Rockwell, who is fantastic as Farrell’s best friend and wannabe co-author.

Christopher Walken, though, steals the show as a religious dog-thief with a shadowy background.

The storyline – of an Irish screenplay writer trying to write a screenplay called Seven Psychopaths – is what you might call ‘meta’, or post-modern. It’s a story about the story within the story, and the level of consciousness of this among the characters is pretty amusing.

The slight air of mysticism around the film is very reminiscent of one of my other favourite Irish authors, John Connolly, and his Charlie Parker novels. A few of the psychopaths in the film (I’ll leave it up to you to figure out who they are) have an air of Southern Gothic – think the Green Mile and O Brother Where Art Thou  – and the use of US folk imagery is a brilliant contrast to the modern, flashy LA lifestyle of Marty and Woody Harrelson’s gangster character.

It opens in cinemas in December – go and see it!


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