An Awkward Seven Psychopaths Review

I love good dialogue. Good dialogue, can make a boring movie, smart and interesting. It can also make some movies funnier than most comedies. Social Network and Pulp Fiction come to mind. Neither should really work as well as they do, Social Network being a movie about creating Facebook, and Pulp Fiction pretty much has no plot to really speak of. The glue that holds them together is the brilliant interplay between characters. The writer of Seven Psychopaths has officially stepped into the arena of Joss Wheedon, Quentin Tarantino, Aron Sorkin, and Shane Black and has made a weird artful movie, that even the average movie goer can enjoy.

I love black comedies. The more death and death jokes the better, I have a morbid sense of humor that rarely gets sated. The movie title is not a conceal metaphor. There are so many psychos in this movie, it’s damn near a horror movie. Actualy this movie is filled with as much murder as a horror movie. And most of the kills are either hysterically funny, self aware, or really touching. Definetly not for well adjusted kids. The script is the star, making every character sympathetic and really funny. I laughed so hard in this movie, and surprisingly so did the audience. Everybody seemed to have a good time. Normally a movie of this kind only applies to film-buffs. But there isn’t a lot of subtle humor here and the audience was eating it up with me. The best part are these crazy mini flashbacks that act as really effective short films, and everyone is great. If I had a complaint they don’t seem to have any formula for dropping these scenes in, but since the movie is all about story structure not sure how to feel about that.

The performances all around are great and weird and captivating. These are the kind of movies that should entice the Academy to make a “Best ensemble cast” Category. Christopher Walken is in here playing himself as always and pulls out a predictably weird performance. Colin Farrell is also great and acts as the avatar for the audience, while still bringing a lot of charm to the role. Woody Harrelson is menacing and hilarious as the villain, and as all well rounded villains are very sympathetic at times. The one who steals the show, easily the best performance of the year, Sam Rockwell. Wow in the trailer it seemed like he got to jokey, and is the comic relief for the movie. While there is a few moments, but literally everything this guy says is funny. Actually, no his character has a lot of depth and whenever he’s not being funny, he helps set the tone and even becomes a little scary one point. If I had to compare him to anybody it’d be Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder. Maybe just a slight step down, but still hilarious and totally unlike any performance I’ve ever seen. This best supporting actor this year is going to be a wild card, easily.

One thing that vexes me about Dialogue comedies, coined that, the movie feels like it’s a showcase for the writing itself. If you have a movie with a lot of story, it can work well, but some Tarantino movies piss me off for being too self indulgent, and having talking for the sake of talking. This movie has a very clear plot, so most of the time it gets out of that. The writing services the themes and tones  not just the director’s ego. What this movie is all about is story structure in movies, with Farrell’s character talking about his script almost addressing the audiences. It’s also about what we enjoy in movies with violence. The story doesn’t completely gel but that might be the point the movie is clearly smarter than me, but not too smart for it’s own good, and definitely warrants a second and even third viewing

This movie wants to be smart and relevant and artful, and crowd-pleaser at the same time. And it works best while being a crowd-pleaser. It wants to be a smart Tarantino-ish movie. The problem is the levels of meta goes in and out. It’s not consistent enough with it’s self-reflection. Sometimes it’s cartoonish and sometimes it just stops completely, which is disappointing. Also the third act starts a little slow and meanders a little but no more so then most of these type of movies, and it might’ve even been making a point about story structure so I’ll just fast forward that part. It’s uneven and that is my only real complaint this movie, which is still really really fun, and will definitely end up in my top 10.

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