A&E

Killer comedy sends viewers to ‘seven’-th heaven

When Inception hit theaters two years ago, moviegoers left with their jaws permanently dislocated and their minds left unattended in their vacated seats. Since then, it’s been common to associate interwoven storylines in movies — a tool as unoriginal as the trite summer blockbuster — with Christopher Nolan’s “dreamy” cerebral thriller, which shamelessly steals elements from his equally brain-boiling flick Memento. Neither of these movies accomplished what most audiences crave: a comedic undertone. With an ensemble cast, an absurdly convoluted premise and a dash of satire, Seven Psychopaths attempts to revamp the rulebook on thought-provoking films.

Like this reviewer, screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) is writing about seven fictional psychopaths and is having difficulty overcoming his writer’s block. Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell), his friend who flits between odd acting jobs and stealing dogs for reward money, sneakily broadcasts the project in the classifieds and gains the attention of — not surprisingly — less fictional psychopaths. Thus the blood-soaked narrative begins. Among the basket cases are Hans, the hyper-religious, bloodthirsty Quaker-turned-pacifist (Christopher Walken); Zachariah, the rabbit-toting, soft-spoken one who pines over his lost murderer love (Tom Waits) and Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a gangster with a soft spot for his beloved Shih Tzu.

Each character’s quirks supplement some of the wittiest deadpan since Arrested Development, and the concurrent storylines add depth to the bitingly sardonic buddy comedy.

Charlie is a merciless killer intent on rescuing his pet alive and revenging himself upon its kidnapper. Billy enlists the help of hyper-religious Hans to avoid the crazed pet fanatic on a meticulously orchestrated dog heist. Desperate for an angle, Marty tags along and learns that his film practically writes itself, as the action that unfolds is incontestably ridiculous and a blunt dismissal of gore-stained film cliches. There’s even a scene where Bickle pens his ‘ultimate ending’ to Marty’s film, which pokes fun at the conventions of most soulless macho action cinema.

Psychopaths isn’t all mindless fun: It has a heart. Hans’ sermon that caps the narrative paints the image of another psychopath, a mute Vietnamese priest, whose true intentions are to send an anti-war message rather than any malicious agenda. If that’s not a stab at inducing discussion after the movie, I don’t know what is.

So here are some final words to close my take on Psychopaths: Viewers expecting either a slapstick comedy or a thought-provoking thriller may find more than they bargained for. It’s an incredible new entry in a film genre previously limited to big budgets, overdramatic dialogue and a constant maxim of style over substance.


Published November 1, 2012 in tableau



  • HallieJane said:

    Dear Cavalier Daily: Where on God's green earth have you been. No one was in a better position to discover Jackie was lying - Was there a party that ...
    on Students produce video thanking Jackie

  • NycCav said:

    Honestly...I have refrained from commenting as the CD is for the students as far as I am concerned (as an alum), but please stop embarrassing yourselves. ...
    on Students produce video thanking Jackie

  • Pat said:

    Letting outside reporters like TR Shapiro come in and do circles around the CD and its staff in its own backyard is one thing; being unable to even acknowledge ...
    on Students produce video thanking Jackie

  • Uva_reader said:

    The students who produced this video need to familiarize themselves with the Honor Code, which calls for students who lie to be punished, not thanked. ...
    on Students produce video thanking Jackie

  • JG said:

    Translation of William Evan's world view: "If its not something worthwhile and beneficial to me personally, I have no problem calling for its destruction ...
    on The Cavalier Daily :: EVANS: Gleaning meaning





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