Type to search

Eleanor Ringel Cater

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

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.



  1. Erica Furey November 4, 2012 9:52 pm

    Keep your emotions to yourself and let everyone else enjoy the movie!Report

    1. Atlantajan November 6, 2012 10:01 am

      Um, Erica, she’s a critic. This is what critics do.Report

      1. SevenDefender March 5, 2013 3:53 am

        @Atlantajan A critic doesn’t bash movies like she did this one. It was thought-provoking and inspired, not to mention entertaining which is exactly what a movie should be. And if you were to ask Sam Rockwell about his character I doubt he’d say that it didn’t make any sense. Pretentious critics are the worst kind. And I would daresay no “wannabe tough guy” would live vicariously through this movie, they would simply watch die hard. This wasn’t an action movie and if it was seen this way by anyone, you’ve missed the whole point. It was a story of love and transformation. Only at the end did Colin Farrell realize that we are all one fucked up situation away from becoming psychopaths. And psychopaths (as defined by the film, not medically) are not necessarily violent or insane, just removed from their environment enough to see, feel, and react to situations in very different sometimes opposite ways than the majority of society. I would suggest Ms Cater watches this film again with a more open mind and tries to look for messages within it. After all, movies viewed superficially will be understood as superficial.Report

  2. CJ November 5, 2012 12:21 pm

    “Somebody please pass the Beluga.”  Great last line.Report


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.