Film review: Seven Psychopaths

16:00, Dec 29 2012
Seven Psycopaths
IN HIDING: Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell in Seven Psycopaths.

Seven Psychopaths (R16) 110 mins

Seven Psycopaths, a blood-soaked black comedy, generates a few laughs but loses its footing along the way.

This is director, writer and co-producer Martin McDonagh's second outing with Colin Farrell, following the successful In Bruges.

Alcoholic Marty (Farrell) is having trouble completing a screenplay he calls Seven Psychopaths. His friend, out-of-work actor Billy (Sam Rockwell) tries to help by providing inspiration for the psychopath characters.

Yet things go horribly wrong after Billy and his business associate, Hans (Christopher Walken), dognap the shih tzu of crazed gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson), and the trio are forced to hide out in the Joshua Tree National Park.

Farrell is not irreplaceable and Marty is the least interesting character of the bunch.


The psychopaths are inventive. We are introduced to such twisted characters as the quaker psychopath and the Buddhist monk, and their backstories, while violent, are imaginative. Gravelly voiced Tom Waits is perfect as the unhinged Zachariah.

The film within a film concept is clever and works to introduce psychopaths without the need for forced exposition and extra plot points.

Although it fails when Hans takes issue with Marty (and, effectively, McDonagh) for creating victimised and weak female characters, including an underused Abbie Cornish. Addressing this flaw just draws more attention to it.

Walken and Rockwell steal the show with their superior performances and good lines.

The creative characters and script are entertaining but as a whole Seven Psychopaths feels like it needs more polishing.

Sunday Star Times