Seven Psychopaths DVD Review: It’s Like Adaptation Meets Fight Club

Seven Psychopaths centers around Marty (Colin Farrell), a struggling Hollywood screenwriter overdue to finalize his next project which he has barely begun. His girlfriend Kaya (Abbie Cornish) quarrels with him over his tendencies to drink too much and sleep too late. His friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) means well, but often catalyzes chaos that upends Marty’s life and his relationships with others. Once Billy learns about Marty’s pending project — conveniently also titled Seven Psychopaths — Billy starts out just trying to help get the story rolling so his friend can write it down. Little does Marty know, between Billy’s complicated yet shallow life, not only is there more to him than meets the eye, but Billy also starts trying to make the fictional yet-to-be-written story become real. It reminded me of Adaptation a bit, but with a wackier cast of characters.

Joining the ensemble is Hans (Christopher Walken), Billy’s partner in a dog-kidnapping and reward-collecting scam, who also happens to be born-again religiously, and tends to his cancer-stricken wife Myra (Linda Bright Clay) in the hospital. When Billy and Hans inadvertently kidnap the dog of local mobster Charlie (Woody Harrelson), things get even more complicated. As Charlie hunts for those who took his dog and the screenplay continues to develop, the lines blur between what you’re watching and what Marty’s writing — fictional characters turn out to be real and Billy’s cocky nature takes the reins, steering the story into unusual and outlandish territory.

Overall, the characters of Billy, Marty, and Hans play well off one another with their impulsive, naive/sheepish, and calm/centered personalities, respectively. As things progress and Billy tries ever harder to make his reality into a big action movie, he starts becoming disappointed that the cliches don’t quite work out in real life the way they did in his movie-addled brain. Lots of people die, there’s no shortage of foul language, and Christine Marzano struts about as a ditsy topless hooker. Colin Farrell is likeable, Sam Rockwell plays his typecast manic persona with aplomb, and Christopher Walken is…well, Christopher Walken. Harry Dean Stanton, Olga Kurylenko, and Tom Waits also pop up throughout the story.

Special features amount to a couple of featurettes and a brief behind the scenes tidbit. All told, the extras will take maybe 15 minutes to blow through. No feature commentary or anything to add much additional life to the production.

This is an enjoyable, nutty romp where you’ll find yourself laughing with and at these lunatics. The more Marty tries to keep it together, the more Billy keeps pulling things apart. At the end of the day, which of the madmen are still left standing? You’ll have to ride the twists and turns to find out for yourself.

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Mark Buckingham

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