Thursday, October 25, 2012
Irish playwright Martin McDonagh made quite a splash—albeit a bloody one—with his first feature, the brilliant, brutal, scathingly funny, fiercely moral In Bruges.
The good news is he's back with more boys behaving badly in Seven Psychopths. The bad news is, it's no In Bruges.
Still, even almost-there McDonagh is better, smarter, and funnier than your average bear. This time, the story concerns an Irish filmmaker named Martin in Hollywood, trying to write a new screenplay. It's not exactly McDonagh's 8 1/2; it's more like his Alex In Wonderland, a well-intentioned and often entertaining sophomore effort that doesn't always hit all its marks.
As self-referential to its genre as a Scream movie, its film-within-a-film format allows McDonagh to deconstruct the crime/buddy/gangster thriller, and point out all its clichés and weaknesses, while trading on them shamelessly. The degree of bloodletting is utterly absurdist, but the character comedy is still funny, even if it lacks the cohesion and moral force of its predecessor.
Colin Farrell plays the blocked screenwriter as a wary, wide-eyed Everyman. (His eyebrows alone deserve their own Oscar.) His job is to play straight man to a looney-tunes cast that includes Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Tom Waits, and Christopher Walken, who is extra terrific as the movie's weary, tattered soul. (Read more)