Last night I had the pleasure and privilege of attending an advance screening of the upcoming movie Seven Psychopaths.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the theater, as the trailer isn’t very clear about the movie’s plot other than the fact that there are seven psychopaths and Colin Farrel, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, and Tom Waits are in the movie.

However, I now understand why they chose to make the trailer so ambiguous: the plot’s too damn complicated to explain succinctly in two minutes.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This movie is no Primer. The story’s course of events are easy to understand. It just takes the full run time to fully grasp. I’ll try to summarize the plot without giving too much away.

Colin Farrel plays a struggling alcoholic writer who is trying to write a movie called Seven Psychopaths.

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how brilliant this is. Part of the reason why Seven Psychopaths is such an entertaining movie is because of how self-aware it is. One part that really struck me was toward the end of the movie when one of the characters has a small speech about how the movie is going to end his way. Pretty damn clever.

Anyways, so Colin Farrel’s best friend, Sam Rockwell, along with Christopher Walken, steal the dog of a completely insane mob boss, Woody Harrelson, and hilarity ensues. The other three psychopaths work their way into the movie as well, but they’re not as important.

This plot may not seem like much, but there’s a whole lot more to this film than the main plot line. There are tons of flashbacks and imagined sequences as characters either tell the stories of their past or as Colin Farrel bounces ideas off of others for his own movie.

Then there’s the cast. Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken tear the screen up. At a few points, Woody is chewing on the scenery, but all for a good laugh. Walken’s performance is out of this world: hilarious in all the right places, but touching and powerful in others. Colin Farrel does an all right job, but he more or less plays the straight man in this one. Sam Rockwell, on the other hand, plays the role of the trickster who gets the events of the plot going and keeps it going. While definitely outshone by Harrelson and Walken, Rockwell definitely does a great job, too.

The one thing that I found kind of weak about this movie was that there wasn’t much of a female presence on the screen. There are definitely some strong female characters in the story, but they don’t even get top billing. The two women who do have their names on the poster might have a total screen time of five minutes. But again, the movie is self-aware enough to acknowledge this. At one point, somebody comments on Colin Farrel’s script, saying that all the women either die or only talk for five minutes, and Farrel replies that that is his way of saying that the world is hard for women. The writers of this movie knew that the role of women in their film was weak and so they addressed it in the movie. Goddamn that is sharp.

In all, Seven Psychopaths was an extremely clever film with a whole lot going for it. It’s definitely one of those movies that you can watch over and over and catch something new every time. Well worth the price of admission. I’d be so bold to say that in a few years from now this movie will reach a cult status similar to that of The Big Lebowski.

 

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