Dear Seven Psychopaths,
Jesus, Seven Psychopaths, you’re fucking crazy! I mean really off your rocker. Barely rubbing two brain cells together. Nutso. Yet, as harsh as that is, it’s a good kind of crazy. What is utterly shocking about your brand of crazy, is that it’s as funny as all hell.
I mean, I didn’t really have an expectation when I sat down with you beyond all the great actors in the cast. Enter the first psychopath, Marty, who really is a psychopath in training trying to capture lightening in a bottle and write a successful second Hollywood screenplay. Collin Farrell plays him with perfectly twisted, alcoholic, Irish aplomb, accent and all. Of course, the new screenplay is a will O’wisp crime story, action film replete with writer’s block and consisting of only the aforementioned Seven Psychopaths title.
His nutty best friend Billy, played brilliantly by Sam Rockwell, is actually so all over the place and so insane he plays psychopath number two and three both! When he isn’t dog nabbing or shooting hoodlums he is trying to help his bud Marty control his alcohol consumption and find inspiration for the new project. Eventually, one of his bright ideas turns into an ad for psychopaths in the LA Weekly, which brings out psychopath number four, Tom Waits in a small but mesmerizing turn as Zachariah. It is here that you make me realize; as funny as the situational humor is, you are about telling stories, and the vignettes that are spread throughout you add a deep layer of soul to the proceedings that will eventually pay off in so many surprising ways.
Then there is psychopath number five Charlie, played by Woody Harrelson with his usual flair and a ton of humor. In this, he is a dog-loving, slightly whacked crime boss that has a really deep abiding love for his Shih Tzu, Bonny and a favorite handgun that always jams when he tries to use it while his temper runs hot and cold. When Billy nabs Bonny, things go downhill from there and when Charlie starts killing and Billy starts playing games with the situation, we are all along for the ride. Hans, of course, is psycho number six and played perfectly by legend Christopher Walken. Hans also is the only character here that has one of the three main vignettes based on his past. He is a figure of tragedy and also wonder! If not for Rockwell’s tour de force turn, he would have run away with this film. As it is, he is the soul of our little experience. Hans will remain indelible in your psyche.
You wonder about psychopath seven perhaps? Well, this guy is never manifest in the real world but is a construct that reminds us that this is a movie about story telling. Long Nguyen starts out portraying a Vietnamese war nut that comes to the US to kill some vets, but that is not the way that Hans reworks him in the end. Of all the bits and pieces that resonate with me, this vignette has so much power that it stops me before the push at the end wraps everything up.
This moment is when I know this has been more than just entertainment and that as a viewer I had more than just some laugh-filled, rip-roaring good time at the movies. No, there is meaning here in all the twisted convolutions of an insanely stylish and brilliantly portrayed character study. And, oh yeah, psychopath number one graduates in a way I never saw coming and it too, is brilliant!
You and I will visit often as I already know I will not tire from you and there is no doubt that other filmmakers will draw from your brilliance. And that is always the sincerest form of flattery!
Soldier on my wacky friend,