Sunday, October 14, 2012

"Seven Psychopaths" (2012) - Movie Review

Every one aspires to pen a similar screenplay like Tarantino after he splashed the screen with odd discussions and cranky mishaps. There is so much obsession in writing for these sociopathic characters. The control and the powerful sarcasm that is like a stand up comedian but with fear peppered on them. These characters are like a drug to a writer. I know I penned my incomplete screenplay which was few pages with nothing but tough guys screaming, yelling and cursing in the most inventive way possible. Only now when I read it back, it sounds terrible. Martin McDonagh’s screenplay is not. Not in a million years.

Even when the film begins, it has cameo by Michael Pitt and Michael Stuhlbarg discussing the oddity of being shot in the eyeball. McDonagh’s film is bound to grow on you once you think about it and then see it again. Telling a story is telling someone else’s version of it which eventually got morphed into a story only resembling the semblance of truth. There is absolute creativity and there is inspiration from the things that happen around you. Marty (Colin Darrell) is a screenwriter who is in dire need of a screenplay. He drinks wine, beer, whisky and everything that has OH in it to bring in something out of the story he is seeing around. It becomes a story telling of a different kind.

“Seven Psychopaths” is everything the formulaic gangster/gritty/bloody/violent film the aspiring film makers begin to provide. It has the simplest things that would not matter to someone becoming the plot prop for bigger events. Here it is a cute little Shih Tzu dog. Marty’s friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) steal dogs and return it to its owner in few days to get some money out of the deal. Christopher Walken is his accomplice Hans who is the kind old man returning the dog. In Los Angeles where there are high end luxurious pet hotels, this would definitely happen and there is a simple ransom job out here. Billy steals a Shih Tzu of a maniacal mob boss Charlie (Woody Harrelson) that becomes the hunt for these three people and that is the plot in a single line.

If you believe that single line is all it driving this, you might be mistaken terribly. What McDonagh does is that he is spoofing all those films that have this kind of plot but spins it around in a fashion that is silly, clever, dark and in the end very moving. “Seven Psychopaths” has dry moments but comes about with some creative elements that is philosophical and stupid. It becomes the way the characters design the movie to be. I know it does not make much sense but believe me when I say that it is as close in comparison with one of my top ten films “Adaptation”.

To play this film and get these cast is the first perfect job. Getting Farrell, Rockwell, Harrelson and several others to partake in this is one thing but to extract this sort of performance from Christopher Walken is unlike any other. He is a gentle old man and then he has this undercurrent that he can snap any moment. We are in complete accord when he says he is not a man of violence but at the same time are on our toes when he is around these whacky crazy people. He fits in with them and yet he stays in the middle  with a solid head and keeps every one guessing simultaneously. Walken gives one of the most mature performance bringing his experience in this field and using his mannerisms and facial expression into this film. Tom Waits gives an intriguing cameo and be seated after the credits roll for a final impressive scene to finish it.

“Seven Psychopaths” had its dull times which appeared to try too hard and trying to bring the absurdity in the silliest things but when you look back from the end of the story, it makes all the more sense. There is an integrity Martin McDonagh’s script, direction and assembling those have in providing this. It constantly marches on towards an end and even one of the characters is so pumped up to get to the end scene, the shootout. It has become such a fascination in the upcoming films and Rockwell’s character symbolizes it.

McDonagh’s previous film “In Bruges” is another mastery in screenplay and brought odd decency in the darkest places of misdirected souls and concrete ones. He conducted that film with some heavy punctuation and you know that he does not shy away in introducing a complete new character right in the middle of the film and make them dictate the rest of story. The man has a command of his writing and here he appears to let loose but you begin to realize the creativity at its best. He begins the film to be taken over by the character. He performs himself as an actor through this sort of writing which was done immaculately in “Adaptation” and here it is done on a completely different style, still effective.

When the film ends with Walken narrating the Vietnamese character’s story, I was left with an odd sense of satisfaction, unexplained emotion and could not help but laugh at the same time. Here is a Writer and Director who provided a film that is a screenwriter’s dream and director’s aspiration for satisfying themselves but also provided an artistic presentation if you can follow what I am saying. In a film that has so much violence and is glorifying it at certain places also reveres the concept of peace, chaos and most importantly the art of storytelling. A touch of brilliance is evident in this and at the end of writing this, I am more in love with the film than I was while I was watching it.

2 comments: said...

Everybody here seems to be having a ball with this script and how could you not? It’s snappy, dark, hilarious, and altogether, unpredictable as to where the hell it’s going to go next. That’s what I always like to see in my crime movies, actually, just movies in general. Good review Ashok.

Ashok said...

You are absolutely right Dan! Thanks for reading my review. You seem to have a good site yourself! I will leisurely read those on coming days. I am always open for feedback.