Friday, 11 January 2013

Seven Psychopaths Review

One thing is for certain.  Marketing materials for movies are deceptive.  The last movie I saw, Silver Linings Playbook marketed itself as a run of the mill romantic comedy.  It turned out to have a lot of layers and emotion and has been nominated for Best Picture.  Seven Psychopaths marketed itself as a hip and quirky underworld comedy; much like any movie based on an Elmore Leonard novel.  With one, the viewer is pleasantly surprised to be entertained comedically and still experience a deep movie.  With the other, the same thing is attempted but fails miserably.  (It also marketed itself completely false.  Neither Abbie Cornish nor Olga Kurylenko is one of the psychopaths.  It is completely not what the marketing would have you believe.)

Seven Psychopaths is about a guy writing a screenplay about psychotic people.  He wants the movie to have depth and be about more than just killing.  It's a commentary on almost anything Guy Ritchie has ever done or inspired.  Then, he gets sucked into a world of actual psychopaths.  I won't give away any more in case you want to see it.  The actual movie you are watching is trying to do the same thing that the writer is.  Ironically, they should have never made the attempt and it should have just been a movie about a group of psychos who kidnap another psycho's dog.

Keeping it shallow would have enabled them to really play off of the potential for the cool one-liners that they hyped up so much in the trailers.  They had the cast to do it.  Colin Farrell proved he could do cool, underworld comedy in In Bruges.  Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken can all play that very well too.  But Harrelson is cast as a mob leader and should have been an anti-hero.  Rockwell would have been better as the mob leader.  Walken was cast well as the aging weirdo but his lines were obviously written with his quirky delivery in mind.  It would have had more punch if they had just written the movie with clever dialogue and let Walken add his weirdness to it.

But the thing that really makes this movie fail is that they wanted to make a comedy.  But then they bring in very, very dark topics that make the viewer very uncomfortable when they're supposed to laugh at the dialogue.  Comedy mixed with violence often works.  But there's a line when, if crossed, they fail to mix.  Seven Psychopaths crossed that line with most of the back stories of the psychos.  If you don't laugh, everything falls flat and the movie seems boring.  If you do laugh, you feel guilty.  It's a lose-lose for the viewer.

Don't see it.

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