Oct. 10, 2012 - Issue #886: Typhoon Judy
Marty's unemployed actor buddy Billy (Sam Rockwell) gets into fistfights at auditions. Billy knows this aging grifter named Hans (Christopher Walken, sporting a dandy array of cravats) who steals pooches. As the movie progresses (so to speak), both Billy and Hans become involved in the development of Marty's Seven Psychopaths script, a process that mainly consists of concocting novel ideas for psycho-killers. They receive research assistance from Zachariah (Tom Waits, who also played a Zack in Down by Law), a former mass murderer of mass murderers, who's apparently in his 80s (he started killing in 1947, two years before Waits was even born), and from a mobster (Woody Harrelson) whose beloved shih tzu has become one of Hans' canine hostages. Meanwhile there's a figure roaming Los Angeles known only as the Red Mask Killer who's supposed to kill only mid- to high-ranking Italian mafia and yakuza—until he kills his girlfriend.
We at seven yet? Does it matter?
As with McDonagh's In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths gets playful with post-Tarantino po-mo crime movie clichés and is intermittently very witty (I like the bit about how Gandhi was wrong). But the plot of Seven Psychopaths, unlike In Bruges, is a mess, plodding along, making itself up as it goes (a quality I commend in movies that actually take chances), slowly draining any sense of investment we might have initially had in these characters, or rather character types. Mostly the movie feels like an apologia, or rather a justification, for making yet another violent movie about ostensibly amusing, amoral, misogynist, sadistic pigs with funny nicknames or outfits or affectations. Ultimately the movie wants us to identify with Billy, who really is a psychopath and just wants Marty and Hans to admit that, no matter what the effeminate artsy-fartsy types say, everybody secretly just wants to see bloodshed and explosions and who gives a shit about anything else.
Directed by: Martin McDonagh
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