I was praying this would be better too.


Theatrical Release Date: 10/12/2012
Director: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, Zeljko Ivanek, Abbie Cornish
Rated: R for strong violence, bloody images, pervasive language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use.
Runtime: 1 hour, 49 minutes


Trailer:

Wanna see where I hid my watch?

Coming off the excellent “In Bruges“, writer/director Martin McDonagh’s “Seven Psychopaths” had a lot to live up to. He brought back Colin Farrell and stuck to portraying a world that’s a bit seedier than the one most people live in. The comparisons generally end there, however.

Farrell plays a screenwriter looking for inspiration but drinking away his grip on everyday life. His best friend (Sam Rockwell) is in cahoots with Christopher Walken in a dog-napping enterprise which nets them the reward money distraught owners inevitably put up in order to be reunited with their furry friends. As fate (and McDonagh’s often all-too clever script) would have it, they happen to steal the prized pooch of an unbalanced criminal (Woody Harrelson) who will go to any lengths to get his dog back.

Along the way, we’re introduced to characters that fill out the title billing and act as the basis for Farrell’s screenplay. It’s in the description and re-dramatization of these ancillary characters where the film shines; offering equal shades of bloody violence and unflinching comedy. However, unlike what the trailer may have you believe, the pacing of the movie is anything but brisk.

Despite a running time short of the two-hour mark, trudging through the meticulous layout of the story makes the experience feel much longer and I even found my eyelids getting a bit heavy towards the end. It’s not that there aren’t some very funny moments, it’s that you’ve seen 75% of them in the trailer and while awaiting another great exchange between Walken and Harrelson, or hoping there’s another interesting character to grace the screen, watching Farrell’s character mope isn’t all that interesting. He’s a gifted actor but the script leaves him without much depth and on such a cliché development arc that there isn’t much satisfaction in seeing it play out.

Watching the film mainly had me wishing I’d re-watched “In Bruges” or another project McDonagh was a producer on, “The Guard“. Each of those deliver really fresh takes on the universe they inhabit and made for excellent cinema. The predominant emotion leaving the theater here was disappointment and perhaps my expectations got the better of me.

“Seven Psychopaths” is almost like some weird mash-up of movies from the ’90s like “True Romance”, “Pulp Fiction” and “The Usual Suspects”. Yeah, you’d think that’s a compliment but trust me, it’s not. The whole movie feels dated and treads on territory that feels all too familiar. Walken’s performance and a few fun moments keep this from being a true waste of time, but at a 3 out of 5, justifying a $64 dollar movie ticket is hard to do. This one can easily wait for the movie channels.

3 out of 5