November 1, 2012

Guys Movie Night: Seven Psychopaths

A sloppy and passe Tarantino-style shaggy-dog murder comedy. C-minus. Too gratuitously and graphically violent for even my calloused sensibility, and nowhere near sharp enough to hold my interest.
The opening scene is two hitmen, one dumb and one smart, dressed in black, casually discussing their next hit, John Dillinger, and the movies. Is writer-director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) deliberately honoring or parodying Pulp Fiction? It's too obvious to be a tribute and to on-the-nose to be a parody. There's plenty of late '90s style casual murder, colorful characters, tall tales, stories told in flashback, sex, nudity, and intense violence. This flavor of film was very fashionable in 1996 (see The Usual Suspects, Three Days In The Valley, Way of the Gun, and Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead), but it really rubbed me the wrong way.
The cast is all-star: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, and Tom Waits are good, although they seem to wander around the script with their dialog.
McDonagh was lucky to cast Harry Dean Stanton, Kevin Corrgian, and Gabourey Sidibe in bit parts.
I am fond of Slovenian native Zeljko Ivanek, with his grey complexion and dead blue eyes, he's a terrific character actor.
McDonagh's previous writing-directing effort, In Bruges, is also a darkly comic and surprisingly violent movie-- which I can recommend if you don't mind wholesale death of all the characters --but Seven Psychopaths fudges the tone out of whack. Also, the pacing in the last third grinds to a halt.
At the Belmont Studio Cinema with Adam, George, and Kevin