I used to love psychopaths. In movies that is, until they became so commonplace that they started popping up in real life, all around me, my boss, my best friends wife, my neighbours kid.Then Hollywood solved the problem by creating sociopaths. They were what psychopaths aspired to be, so insanely sane that after hacking people in the most creative way possible they were quite likely to be declared insane.Now I love sociopaths, for example Chigurh from No Country for Old Men, that guy can give anybody the heebie jeebies.And my love affair with Hannibal Lector continues, I prefer gentlemen like him to many normal folks I have around me.Being eaten be him would be an interesting way to die, far better than passing away in a hospital, a sticky bed pan under your bum.
Now I would have thought Seven Psychopaths would still not add up to one genuine socio but the director Martin McDonagh has other ideas.He directed the outstanding In Burges about two hit men holed up in a Belgian tourist town after a botched job.He returns this time with a film about an ensemble of crazy guys that is more of a satire on the entire process by which Hollywood tries to keep jaded cine-goer’s from suffering a fatal psycho fatigue.
Colin Farrel is “Marty”( an obvious wink to Scorsese who has given us so many memorable ones) trying to write a script.All he has is a title, “Seven Psychopaths”, in Hollywood that’s enough to sustain the dreams of many wannabe writers for years.His friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) is a dog kidnapper who aspires to co-write with him(another Hollywood fantasy), and whose friend in turn is Christopher Walken, his dog kidnapping accomplice. The “mcguffin “ here is a dog stolen from bad guy Woody Harrelson who is Hollywood’s most dependable psychopath. Harrelson says he was cast by Oliver Stone in the cult film Natural Born Killers because Stone saw the violence inside him.Woody Harrelson can appear on the edge even when he is playing a romantic school teacher.That’s how unhinged he is.But this is a Sam Rockwell show all the way.
We know from the trailer already that the dog will be the bone of contention.I have a bone to pick with trailers but that’s another psycho story.And so round and round it goes till we lose count of the psychos on screen, even though Mr. McDonagh has a counter running on-screen.
The ride is full of in-jokes on Hollywood, you can totally see the director having fun while writing this. This is a kind of anti-Tarantino film, written with a sense of reversing the balance between humour and violence.It’s also pretty self-conscious in a positive way, the characters behave as if they are in a movie.
When I was growing up (and I still am), I used to hear it being said that everyone has one book in them.In todays world everyone feels they have at least one film in them, some may even feel that they have one film of each genre each in them, at least this is what appears to be the case in Hollywood.And that idea that you heard between drinks from a stranger in a bar and used in your script can come back to hound you as a copyright issue or much worse a psycho stalker.
There is a Vietnamese monk in this film, who looses his marbles in the Vietnam War and comes to America to avenge the massacre of his family. He is dressed as a priest sitting in a motel room with a half naked hooker.Its an interesting image.He has been thought up by Marty and goes through many rewrites each one more inventive and improbable than the other.
The Zodiac killer makes an appearance too, David Fincher tried to find him in all his seriousness in his film Zodiac, here he meets his end at the hands of a pair of Bonnie and Clyde type vigilante “serial killer” killers.He has a Mahatma Gandhi portrait hanging in his living room, and when he burns to death Gandhi is still smiling benignly.Billy tells Marty, “Gandhi was wrong,”an eye for an eye” does not make the world blind, there will still be one guy left with one eye, and then how will the blind guy take out his last eye, the fella with one eye will just have to scurry behind a bush and save himself”.Now thats the kind of demented thinking that makes this film a crazy riot. See it at your own peril, the rewards are as varied as the seven psychopaths on show here.
# The film is currently playing in Singapore.