Bashing the hell out of ‘Seven Psychopaths’

By Eleanor Ringel Cater

I’ve been hoping SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS would stick around for another week for one reason and one reason only.

I want to bash the hell out of it.

It has and here goes…

“Seven Psychopaths” belongs to a genre I like to think of as “Quentin said he loved the script, but he’s booked solid through 2014.”

I picture it being screened in front of a bunch of giggly slightly-coked baby moguls who saw “Pulp Fiction” when they were about 12. They are sons of privilege who wish they could be tough guys. And they can…vicariously…in jumped-up movies like this. Especially one that wraps itself around Hollywood insider jokes.

But here’s the odd thing: “Seven Psychopaths” was written (and directed) by Martin McDonagh, a respected Irish playwright whose works include prize-worthy plays like “The Lieutenant of Inishmore.” And while I enjoyed his first feature, “In Bruges,” this sophomore effort is so relentlessly annoying it made me hate the earlier film in retrospect.

“Seven Psychopaths” splits itself between a sexy Irishman (Colin Farrell) with writer’s block and a sad-sack bunch of low-level crooks who make their living stealing pets, then returning them in order to collect a reward from the relieved (and usually loaded) owner. Christopher Walken leads the gang and Woody Harrelson is a— yes! — psychopathic mobster whose fluffy little Shih Tzu is dog-napped.

Farrell’s hanger-on — apparently this is common in Hollywood, too — is played with relentless determination by Sam Rockwell. But even an actor as talented as Rockwell can’t make sense of a character who is little more than a plot device.

Oh, did I mention his (Rockwell) last name is Bickle, as in Travis…as in, “You talk’n to me?”

Insipid drivel laced with gore, “Seven Psychopaths” is a movie pretending to be anarchic when it’s actually screening-room safe. Somebody please pass the Beluga.

Eleanor Ringel, Movie Critic, was the film critic for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for almost 30 years. She was nominated multiple times for a Pulitzer Prize. She won the Best of Cox Critic, IMAGE Film & Video and Women In Film awards. An Atlanta native, she graduated from Westminster and Brown University. She was the critic on WXIA’s Noonday, a member of Entertainment Weekly's Critics Grid and wrote TV Guide’s movie/DVD. She is member of the National Society of Film Critics and currently talks about movies on WMLB and writes the Time Out column for the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

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