Seven Psychopaths, written and directed by Martin McDonagh, is a movie after my heart. It is so well done it deserves a list of the best things, so here are 10 reasons to love (and watch) Seven Psychopaths:
1. It’s not Tarantino, but it feels like it. I’m a huge Tarantino fan, and when I saw Seven Psychopaths in the theater I didn’t know who the director was. I assumed it was Tarantino until I learned otherwise. It’s as close to a Tarantino film as you can get.
2. The dialogue. This is hard to do, especially do well, and there are many jabs and one-liners. Some are funny, some are smart, some are deep. The film is conversation heavy, but it’s good conversation and keeps the story going. People talk about things real people would talk about; for example, two gangsters killing time by talking about people who had been shot in the eyeball and survived. The dialogue one of the best parts of the movie.
3. The cast. My favorites: Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Bonny the dog. Other good stars: Colin Farrell, Michael Stuhlbarg, Linda Bright Clay, Gabourey Sidibe, Tom Waits, Michael Pitt. The movie is full of familiar faces and talent, and they blend well together.
4. Humor. Seven Psychopaths is listed as comedy/crime. This isn’t slapstick humor though; it’s dark humor (my favorite) and sometimes very wrong. But it is funny if you enjoy smartA remarks, language, and smart people.
5. Violence. It’s violent but not tasteless. It’s bloody but the realistic blood that you’d expect when someone gets an arm cut off or shot in the head. In a lot of movies now, “blood” is colored so it doesn’t look real or it’s not seen at all, but the blood in this movie looks like movie blood. It’s red and thick, but the shots hold long enough to establish it, not to mash it in your face. And it’s a gangster movie, so there’s plenty of shooting.
6. The story. Ferrell is writing a screenplay about seven psychopaths, and the psychopaths exist in real life. All the mini stories intertwine, and the main people involved try to write the ending. (The ending is often the most difficult part.) I can see if McDonagh’s own intentions and motivations come through Ferrell’s character. He’s tired of the stereotypical psychopaths and wants something you wouldn’t expect.
7. Music. The soundtrack is one of the best aligned with a film I’ve ever heard. It’s not one I’d want to own, but it pairs perfectly with the scenes, action and story. I’ve worked to this movie multiple times and perk up when a song comes on. Artists include: Hank Williams, P.P. Arnold, The Stone Poneys featuring Linda Ronstadt, and The Walkmen. You may not know them by seeing their names, but you will know the songs when you hear them.
8. It’s refreshing. A lot of crap has come out in the last few years. However, this was a good movie that premiered in 2012, and not enough people knew about it. If all the Tarantino-style fans in the world saw this movie, it would have blown up. As a movie-buff, it’s nice to know there are still people in Hollywood who can make a good movie without it being based off an adolescent novel.
9. Creativity. The story, characters, dialogue, everything is creative and theatrical. It’s what a movie should be: entertaining and a world you want to live in for two hours. The story has not been overdone, and you don’t feel you’ve seen it before. Unpredictability is a good thing.
10. Love. Believe it or not, there’s real love in Seven Psychopaths. Walken and his wife, Bright Clay; Bonny and Rockwell; Waits and his runaway woman. The movie shows love is tough, but it stays with you into eternity. It’s not something you’d expect from a gangster movie, but Ferrell pretty much lays out the movie in the first 20 minutes. If you pay attention, you get it.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about the movie in the comments, so feel free to share!