Never before has a film caused me to repeatedly say “what the %&*# am I watching?”
I’m not saying Seven Psychopaths is bad, but this film is definitely not for those with weak minds and weak stomachs. It’s not that it’s gory, but it may leave you wondering about the state of your own mental health.
Colin Farrell stars as a writer’s block addled screenwriter working on a screenplay titled “Seven Psychopaths.”
Upon being kicked out of his house by his girlfriend Kaya, played by Abbie Cornish, he gets caught up in a tumultuous story involving his friend Billy, played by Sam Rockwell, and Billy’s roommate Hans, played by Christopher Walken. These two have unintentionally kidnapped a Shi Tzu that belongs to a crazy mobster, played by Woody Harrelson.
The overall style of Seven Psychopaths feels like it was directed by the unholy love-child of Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers. It is layered with self-referential humor and shocks that make you laugh and then feel bad for laughing.
Parts of the film also come across as a sort of anthology, as we learn about different stories involving different psychopaths.
Despite what the trailers and posters may indicate, we only see three or four of the marketed “psychopaths” interacting with one another, while the others featured in the trailers and marketing campaigns seem to be featured for marquis value.
The actors do an incredible job being psychopaths to the point that it’s almost scary
It’s another one of those cases where you feel like laughing, but feel bad for feeling like laughing, especially when we get to the third act.
The sound design feels like an element that adds to the referential humor. For example, when we see scenes that appear to be in line with what we see in movies, we hear the appropriate music. When the cold hand of reality slaps the film across the face, the music abruptly stops. No record scratch or any comedic backing, it just stops.
The way the film is shot feels like another one of those elements that has bits and pieces lifted from other movies, especially when we see some of the stories of the psychopaths. While mixed up styles may have doomed other films, I think the chaotic nature of the cinematography adds to the overall style.
Overall, I’m not quite sure how I feel about Seven Psychopaths. It feels like the kind of film that would traumatize someone who hasn’t been exposed to these kinds of movies before. I enjoyed it, but it left me with the same feelings that the main character is probably left with, where you just can’t believe, or process, just how much insanity you have just witnessed.
However, I can see the film’s merits from a technical standpoint, so on my personal scale, I give Seven Psychopaths a 4/5.
On a final note, this is definitely film that film students may want to analyze, if they can survive some of the madness.