Monday, October 15, 2012

Was Seven Psychopaths written by a schizophrenic?

Seven Psychopaths grabbed $4.3 million at the box office this weekend after opening Friday. Probably it’s because the word “psychopaths” is in the title. Okay, Colin Farrell is also in the movie and we know that name will draw fans aplenty (even maybe women who don’t like violence). Not to mention our old friend Christopher Walken, almost playing a parody of himself. (Actually he’s the best thing in this.) And, hell, there are people like Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson. So you’ve got all these big name alpha male actors and a movie with a spin like it’s something out of Quentin Tarantino. Few people, however, probably know that it’s some foreign – Irish by way of England – playwright, Marty McDonagh, who wrote and directed the whole thing. Apparently, as screenwriter and director (he also did 2008’s In Bruges also starring Farrell) McDonagh’s the best thing that hit Ireland since the offshore oil boom, and we know what happened to that. But that’s my point. I really disliked In Bruges – well, more like it seemed extraordinarily boring and pointless with bad attempts at humour – and you can triple my feelings (foregoing “how do I really feel”) about this mess..... It’s been awhile since I’ve actually felt ripped off by a movie. Maybe In Bruges was like that. Like In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths is an attempt to be a comedy with a bunch of harebrained bad guys mixing it up. The National Post last week said this was better than Tarantino. Yeah, that’s because they’ve probably got a bias towards supposedly literate people “who write for the stage” (said in an English accent). Seven Psychopaths would have been great if it actually was a send up of Tarantino, not that Tarantino needs to be sent up. And it’s not even that this movie’s gratuitous violence is offensive. It’s just that there’s no point to the violence (is that redundant?). Farrell as Marty plays an LA screenwriter whose next film is called Seven Psychopaths, only he can’t come up with descriptions of the psychopaths let alone a plot. (He does want them to be kinder and gentler, however – ha ha.) His very real psychopathic friends, it turns out, help him. The film is a mishmash of presumably real or imagined crime scenes, all fitting grist for the screenwriter’s mill. But the movie jumps all over the place with an extraordinarily disjointed plot. Ah, the schizoid bit. And the jokes – or entire joke of a film, if that’s what their meant to be – are lame. Not only should audiences get back their time and money (I’d take a triple refund, with which another audience member heartily agreed) over this schlock. But good 'ol – and very esteemed (use English accent again) – director McDonagh should be relegated to writing (with English accent) for the stage. In any case he seems to have wasted a couple years of his life with this. But box office receipts are good, no?

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