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Seven Psychopaths

Posted by martinteller on February 23, 2013

It was just about a year ago when I saw In Bruges and wrote a rather lukewarm review.  I was severely criticized (I could even say attacked) by a couple of very fervent admirers, so I am a little sheepish to write about McDonagh’s long-awaited follow-up movie.  I’m not looking to get in any arguments, especially when I don’t have any passionate opinions about his work one way or the other.

I did enjoy this a bit more than the previous film (although I understand that most people feel this is a weaker effort).  Maybe it’s because it isn’t trying so hard for profundity.  It’s pretty much a Guy Ritchie-esque lark with a healthy serving of self-reference.  It’s not terribly clever, but it’s clever enough.  The lines aren’t terribly funny, but they’re funny enough (the best ones are in the trailer, though).  The plot isn’t terribly satisfying, but it’s satisfying enough.  In other words, it gets the job done… the job being entertainment.

I still don’t like looking at Colin Farrell and his weird eyebrows, but his performance here is okay.  More enjoyable is Sam Rockwell, and Christopher Walken steals just about every scene he’s in.  Of course he does, he’s Christopher Walken.  Harrelson is good.  Everyone else… yeah, they’re fine.  On all technical fronts the movie works.  I kind of hate the song “Different Drum” and didn’t appreciate hearing it twice, but “The First Cut Is the Deepest” makes up for it.

This is shaping up to be an awfully shallow review.  I just can’t think of much to say.  The movie did the trick of keeping me reasonably amused for a couple of hours and nothing about it annoyed me all that much… but I doubt it will stick with me very long.  Rating: Good (70)

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6 Responses to “Seven Psychopaths”

  1. JamDenTel said

    I loved this one myself. I really need to revisit IN BRUGES, but my own lack of love for it made a little nervous going into this. And yet, I was hooked. Self-referential humor is a tricky thing to pull off, but I was really amazed by what McDonagh was able to achieve here. I still think he uses violence in a weird way that doesn’t totally work for me (it’s hard to explain), but that’s a minor caveat; I was thoroughly delighted throughout, especially by the “graveyard battle” scene, but also by the various little cutaways to imagined other films. And by Tom Waits, but also by Sam Rockwell (who’s REALLY hit and miss with me, but was a palpable hit here), Walken, Farrell, etc.

    Of course, my own Guy Ritchie-love might have helped.

  2. I love this film. One of my faves from last year.

    • Hopefully nothing in my comments annoyed you! I still have far too many films from last year to see before I can start naming favorites. Right now MOONRISE KINGDOM is in the lead, though.

  3. Andrew said

    I normally love reading your reviews and understand the hesitation here. I loved In Bruges but more for the gorgeous framing of the city than any of the existential gangster moral dilemma shenanigans that are multiplied in Seven Psychopaths.

    I wasn’t much of a fan here. The just clever enough moments edged into annoyance for me. There were still great things about it, like the Harry Dean Stanton flashback and eventual reveal were great (though I think you aren’t the biggest fan of the man and, regardless, I’m definitely not). It too often edged into “ho-ho-ho look at how clever we are and pointing it out” territory that bugged me.

    I’m probably a notch or two below you here, but I think I get how you’re feeling on this one.

    • 70 is a fairly low rating for me. I agree that the cleverness leans toward annoying… the more self-referential bits McDonagh piled on, the more my eyes rolled. But I was entertained by it just enough to keep it out of the “Fair” area of the spectrum.

      You’re right, I’m not a big Harry Dean Stanton guy. He didn’t bother me here, but I wasn’t thrilled to see him either.

      I like the phrase “existential gangster moral dilemma shenanigans”… that sums up a lot of what bothered me about Bruges. I would say they’re far more in the background in 7P.

      Thank you for commenting!

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