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IN SHORT: "Yech". sorta kinda but not as bad as all that. [Rated R for strong violence, bloody images, pervasive language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use. 109 minutes]
Writer/Director Martin McDonagh's previous film In Bruges was an adequate film filled with cussing and some violence and, in the end, a totally disposable dateflick. Strangely enough, of all the films yours Cranky has dismissed as "disposable," I remember far more about In Bruges than I do about any of the hundreds of other dateflicks I've dismissed. So it's a better film than I first thought. I'm hoping that, four years from now, I look back on Seven Psychopaths in the same way.
I mention that film, which was basically about two men, because McDonagh's new film Seven Psychopaths ups the ante far beyond my ability to succinctly summarize the story for those that want to know all that stuff before they walk into a theater. So, let me redefine the word "yech." "Yech," in the case of Seven Psychopaths, means that we are getting too old to be doing this job anymore. It means that what looks to be a complete mess, in these black and white descriptions, turns out to be an enjoyable two hours in the dark. For the life of me I can't give you a lot more than that. But there is this:
Most everything in Hollywood revolves around the film business. Seven Psychopaths begins with Marty (Colin Farrell), a screenwriter on deadline, suffering a massive case of writer's block and a hangover that goes from here to next Tuesday. Marty's pal Billy (Sam Rockwell) is an actor, more than eager to help Marty write a script (with a healthy part for himself, of course). Somehow Billy is connected to Hans (Christopher Walken), a debonair elderly gentleman who makes a living by dog napping . . . and then returning said dogs and refusing the offered rewards.
That means of course he takes the money . . . which is all well and good until he kidnaps the wrong dog. "Bonnie" the dog was being walked by young Sharice (Gabourey Sidibe) when she was taken. "Bonnie's" owner is a tightly wound mobster called Charlie (Woody Harrelson) who vows to kill anyone involved in the loss of his beloved doggie.
Somehow tying everything together is a backstory involving a serial killer in LA who leaves the Jack of Diamonds playing card on all his/her victims. This is big news in LA and gives Marty the only idea he can hang a hat on, a script about serial killers. This becomes "seven psychopaths" and, thanks to an ad placed in a trade paper seeking stories about psycho-killers, a gentleman named Zachariah (Tom Waits) comes forward with an even better story, which we'll not reveal because the whole movie hinges on it.
Seven Psycopaths is such a delirious ride that, at times, it is hard to keep straight what is "reality" (I Marty and Billy and Hans' life) and what is a visualization of Marty's writing process -- there are, after all, seven psychopathic killers and Marty has to figure out what each does and how and why they do it . . . thus that ad placed in the trade paper seeking stories about psychopathic killers.
So, we're not sure if a story about an Amish Man in Hat (Harry Dean Stanton) is just part of Marty's creative process or a real-life psycho-killer because McDonagh's film story goes whipping around at a speed that a brain that has been processing 250 films a year for over 20 years can't process. There are times where Seven Psychopaths is as much fun as a carnival ride -- we're thinking the one that uses centrifugal force to hold patrons against the wall of a spinning circular platform, and then lifts up on the vertical axis and wobbles around until you want to hurl. Great Fun <g> -- but by the time it is finished, it is an exhausting sit.
What does that mean for you readers who don't get their brains pummeled by 250 movies a year? Hold on to these two words (just like the kinds of words you see in newspaper advertisements): Delirious. Exhausting.
Then go see another disposable dateflick that will probably last in our memory far longer than any of the others DDs we see in a year. So we're going to jump the four years and add extra value to the usual dollar rating that ends these ratings . . .
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Seven Psychopaths, he would have paid . . .
That's as high as we can go short of screaming "You MUST see this movie." Again, a lot of Seven Psychopaths is great movie making. There is a point though, where great movie making goes into overkill mode and Seven Psychopaths goes way beyond that.
Which means you'll probably enjoy it and walk out wondering why.
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