Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Excellent Cast Delivers in 'Seven Psychopaths'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Excellent Cast Delivers in 'Seven Psychopaths'

Article excerpt

If the black comedy at hand had a heroine, it might have been called "Snow White and the Seven Psychopaths." But since it doesn't, it's just plain "Seven Psychopaths" -- the most wickedly well- written and outrageously entertaining film I've seen this year.

We have Irish playwright Martin McDonagh to thank for writing and directing it. Protagonist Marty (Colin Farrell) has best bud Billy (Sam Rockwell) to thank for the psychopaths. He needs them to spice up the lackluster overdue screenplay he's been (hardly) working on. Billy suggests the wild-and-crazy psychopath path, pushing for a big climactic shootout -- a kind of "Wild Bunch of Psychos" homage to Peckinpah.

Billy is wild and crazy, in general, with a lucrative wild-and- crazy occupation: He and his partner Hans (Christopher Walken) kidnap upscale dogs, then "find" and return them to their frantic owners for hefty rewards. Recession? What recession? This is Los Angeles. Business is booming.

It starts booming too loudly, however, when they kidnap the beloved Shih Tzu belonging to psychopathic gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson), who casually kills people for far lesser misdemeanors. The Shih Tzu's tag should have been a warning: "Return dog or you will [expletive] die."

Add the prolific Jack of Diamonds serial killer, the rabid rabbit- lover Zachariah, the psychotic Vietnamese monk, and a mad chain- smoking Quaker (played by the immortal Harry Dean Stanton) and you get -- well, most if not all the psychopaths who populate both the script and the script-within-the-script.

You also get a dream cast of character actors, each portraying his or her uniquely warped personality, "psychopathy being in the eye of the beholder," after all. Most important is the odd couple of dangerously co-dependent friends: ingenuous Mr. Farrell (with his drinking problem and inverted-"V" worried eyebrows) and loony misogynist Mr. Rockwell (with his Travis Bickle references). Dog- loving Mr. Harrelson is terrific, bantering with his victims before blowing them away; rabbit-loving Tom Waits is perfectly perverted, in turn. …

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