Seven Psychopaths

So funny I forgot to laugh
★★
☆☆☆☆
Released: 
2012
Director: 
Martin McDonagh
Starring: 
Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson
The Setup: 
Low-life criminals with dog-theft ring steal dog from gangster.
Discussion: 

I saw In Bruges pretty much against my will, given what hideous trailers were created for it, but ended up liking it quite a bit. It had a much greater depth than one was led to believe. It was because of that movie that I wanted to see this one, also written and directed by playwright Martin McDonagh This time the trailers made it look good, and the movie blew.

The story is set up with Colin Farrell as a screenwriter with a buddy, played by the always-welcome Sam Rockwell. Maybe one day Rockwell will get to play a different character, but he keeps doing the same one quite enjoyably. Rockwell and Christopher Walken have a scam whee they kidnap dogs, then return them to claim the reward. One day they kidnap the dog belonging to gangster Woody Harrelson, and the film goes from there.

At the beginning, the film will be going along and introduce a character, when suddenly the frame will freeze and it will say "Psychopath No. 3" or suchlike. It is meant to be fun and breezy, but one is sitting there for the first forty or fifty minutes saying "This film is going nowhere. It's not funny. It's not gathering any momentum. These characters aren't interesting. This story is not interesting. It's just kind of still and static." So you're just sitting there watching images unfold with absolutely no involvement. Then, in the second half, things start getting meta. Like, really, really meta. For example, one character says he would write a screenplay which would start as an action film, then the characters would go into the desert and talk. Then all the characters go into the desert and talk. Then there's talk about how movies have violent showdowns, and the movie has a violent showdown. These are just two examples of many. A friend of mine who saw it and didn't like it cited all this meta-ness as being too in your face and just making him roll his eyes. Me, I stopped caring after the first half was such a chore, so the movie was dead to me by the second half. Either way, total bummer.

Should you watch it: 

I wouldn't bother.