Friday, October 12, 2012


Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths The New York Times just published an in-depth report about patent wars in the technology world and their negative impact on innovation and competition in recent years. Luckily, so far patent disputes have not sprawled into filmmaking. Otherwise, if director Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" were iPhone, then Martin McDonagh bloodthirsty offbeat comedy "Seven Psychopaths" (USA/UK 2012 | 109 min.) would look like a Samsung phone, and Martin McDonagh might get sued for patent infringement.

"Seven Psychopaths" has plenty bells and whistles to make itself looks awesome, but the whole package doesn't quite live up to the expectation. The film can't seem to shake off the influence from Tarantino's style. Even with the ample absurdly funny and quirky dialogue, a delightful trademark for writer/director Martin McDonagh, his second feature is unfortunately inferior to his hilarious first one—"In Bruges" (UK/USA 2008).

"Seven Psychopaths" is a screenplay which an alcoholic Irish screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) is trying to write. However, Marty is unable to go beyond the title. His eccentric buddy Billy (Sam Rockwell) comes to help. Billy tells Marty stories about psychopaths and even puts up classified ads in the newspaper looking for psychopaths to provide Marty some more writing materials.

Meanwhile, Billy and his smooth talking partner Hans (Christopher Walken) conduct a phony operation. They snatch dogs in a rich neighborhood in LA, and then they return them to owners a few days later in order to collect reward money.

That scam goes smoothly, until they steal a Shih Tzu that belongs to a gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson). Charlie furiously pursuits his beloved dog's kidnappers, Marty included.

Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, and Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths

Like Quentin Tarantino's films, "Seven Psychopaths" has a fantastic and bloody opening. However, like Marty, the movie seems to hit a writer's block as where it should be going. It turns out that the true identities of the seven psychopaths, if you can keep track of them, have little significance. The film is simply using them as a way to ostentatiously deliver all the quirky one-liners in director Martin McDonagh's goody bag. As a result, watching this movie is like stepping into a cool teenager boy's play room—there are plenty awesome toys, but the room looks messy. Yet, you want to stay and play some games and have a good time.

Compared to almost any other character in the film, Colin Farrell's character Marty is the dullest. Colin Farrell looks like a dumb student who is stuck with his term paper, from start to finish. On the other hand, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, and Woody Harrelson are having a ball terrifically playing each of their lively characters.

In the end, the biggest joke is that none of these characters actually can be labeled as a psychopath and the biggest relief is that no patent war is involved, even plenty blood is shed.

"Seven Psychopaths," a CBS Films release, opens on Friday, October 12, 2012 at Bay Area theaters.


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