Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psycopaths

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Marty Faranan is a struggling writer who dreams of finishing his screenplay, Seven Psychopaths. Marty’s best friend, Billy Bickle, is an unemployed actor who makes a living by kidnapping dogs and collecting the owners’ cash rewards for their safe return. His partner in crime is Hans Kieslowski, a religious man with a cancer-stricken wife, Myra. Billy helps Marty with Seven Psychopaths, suggesting he use the “Jack of Diamonds” killer, perpetrator of a recent double murder, as one of the seven “psychopaths” in his script. Marty writes a story for another psychopath, the “Quaker”, who stalks his daughter’s killer for decades, driving the killer to suicide and ultimately cutting his own throat to follow him to hell.

Billy and Hans steal a Shih Tzu, Bonny, unaware that it is the beloved pet of Charlie Costello, an unpredictable and violent gangster. Billy places an advertisement in the newspaper inviting “psychopaths” to call and share their “crazy or quirky” stories for him and Marty to use in their script. Charlie’s thugs, led by Paulo, discover Hans’s connection to the kidnapping. At a warehouse, they threaten to kill Marty and Hans unless they reveal Bonny’s location, but the Jack of Diamonds killer arrives and shoots the thugs. Marty and Billy meet Zachariah Rigby, who saw the advertisement and came to share his story. In his youth, Zachariah rescued a girl, Maggie, from a killer’s basement. As a couple, they embarked on a long career as “serial killer killers”, travelling America and dispatching murderers, ultimately separating when he became disillusioned with her cruel methods. Marty promises to place a message in the credits of Seven Psychopaths, asking Maggie to contact the regretful Zachariah. Charlie traces Myra to the cancer ward, killing her when she refuses to tell him Hans or Bonny’s whereabouts. Marty, Billy and Hans leave town with Bonny to escape Charlie. Marty tells the Quaker story to Hans, who reveals that it is true: Hans himself was the Quaker, and survived his attempted suicide. Marty unknowingly wrote his story after hearing it from Billy while drunk.

The trio drive into the desert. Billy suggests Seven Psychopaths end with an emotional shootout between the psychopaths and Charlie’s forces. Marty and Hans see a headline saying Billy is wanted in connection with the Jack of Diamonds killings. Marty confronts Billy, who reveals he assumed the Jack of Diamonds persona and went on a killing spree to give Marty inspiration for Seven Psychopaths. Disillusioned, Marty tells Billy they must go home. Meanwhile, Hans has a vision of Myra in a “grey place”. Hans questions his belief in the afterlife, dismissing Marty’s reassurances that his vision was a peyote hallucination. Billy sets fire to the car, stranding the trio in the desert, and calls Charlie, telling him their location. Billy intends to make the climactic shootout he envisioned a reality. Upset by Hans’s loss of faith, Billy claims he caused the hallucination by impersonating Myra. Hans leaves.

Charlie arrives alone, without a weapon besides a flare gun in his car. Billy shoots Charlie, enraged that he has not brought the men and weapons required for a satisfying shootout. Hans finds Charlie’s thugs waiting for a flare signal nearby. Marty drives away with Charlie, intending to bring him to a hospital. Billy realises the flare gun’s purpose and fires a flare. Hans motions as if to draw a weapon, causing Paulo to shoot him in front of police. The thugs head towards Billy’s flare, police in pursuit, only to encounter Marty and Charlie’s car on the road. Charlie reveals that he only suffered a flesh wound. Now with backup, Charlie returns to Billy and Bonny’s location. After a shootout, Charlie and Billy have a stand-off, holding Marty and Bonny hostage respectively. Charlie releases Marty and shoots Billy just as the police arrive. Charlie and Paulo are arrested, but Bonny stays at the dying Billy’s side. Marty visits the scene of Hans’s death, and finds a tape recorder with suggestions for Seven Psychopaths on his body. Later, Marty finishes the screenplay at home, having adopted Bonny as a pet. Marty steps outside and walks down the street, script in hand.

In a post-credits scene, Marty receives a phone call from Zachariah, who has just watched Seven Psychopaths and seen that Marty has forgotten to include a message for Maggie in the credits. Zachariah tells Marty that he will be over to kill him on Tuesday. On hearing Marty’s resigned acceptance, Zachariah realises that Marty’s experiences have left him a changed man, and decides to spare him for the time being.

REVIEW:

What does one think when they hear the title Seven Psychopaths? I know that I tend to wonder about serial killers and such, but if that is what you’re thinking that you will be seeing with this film, you may or may not be getting what you bargained for.

What is this about?

When struggling screenwriter Marty needs inspiration to finish his screenplay “Seven Psychopaths,” his conniving friends oblige by kidnapping a demented mobster’s beloved pooch and getting Marty entangled with other unsavory characters.

What did I like?

Commentary. Sam Rockwell’s character makes some rather astute observations that are sure to have you shaking your head in agreement. One of his best points is about how Hollywood has to sanitize everything to the point of almost no return. If you look at films throughout the years, and society for that matter, we have gotten rather soft. For instance, I just reviewed Commando yesterday. I was reading somewhere that could have been a PG film, as it is, if not for the language. PG?!? If that was the case today, it would be, without question, an R. *SIGH*

Quaker. The stories that introduce the psychopaths are interesting, but the one that involves the Quaker was, in my opinion, the best one because it comes back, surprisingly, to one of the main characters. This brings out the true psychopath part of the film and the audience can’t help but with for more.

Cast. A talented cast is not an option for a film such as this. Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell are the standouts for me, but it is good to see Colin Farrell take a break from making crappy remakes that do nothing but flop, and star in something that is worthy of his talents. Also, a small cameo by Gabourey Sidibe surprised the hell out of me. Too bad it was just that, a cameo.

What didn’t I like?

Dogs. I’m probably the most anti-dog person you will ever come across, short of those who wish them harm. The way Harrelson’s character reacts to his dog, treating it like human is one of the very reasons why I hate the infernal beasts. These things are nothing more than dumb animals and should be treated as such. Cats, on the other hand, are a different story.

Women. The women in this film are pretty much nonexistent, with the exception of the old woman in the hospital who is near death. This wouldn’t be a problem if this was meant to be something of a guy flick, but it isn’t. As such, it would have been nice for them to have gotten something more than just a couple of scenes, even if they were meant to be eye candy or actually characters.

Walken. Christopher Walken’s character was great, but given the way he is described, it seems as if he should have gone off the deep end after certain events transpire that direct him. The guy is apparently a cold hard killer who has retired. I wanted to see that side come out and it never did, leaving me a bit unfulfilled.

Not knowing what I was getting myself into with Seven Psychopaths, I was a bit reticent in any kind of prejudice for or against it. The trailers didn’t really do this film justice, as they portrayed it as either too much of a slapstick comedy or more serious and dark in tone that it is. In the end, though, I can say that this is a film that falls into the category of “you need to see it and make your own opinion”, because it is all over the place. Some will like it, some will hate it, and some will be “eh” about it. Check it out and decide for yourself.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

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