Seven Psychopaths (2012)

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Martin McDonagh directs Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken in this meta-comedy about a screenwriter who becomes involved in a violent farce with the sort of horrific yet ironic characters he is struggling to write about.

Both times I’ve watched this it has rubbed me up the wrong way, when it should be exactly my kinda mashed potatoes and gravy. A very cold variation on the superior Adaptation. The script being written takes over the film we are watching as if being written by the constructs the genre demands. It allows for a couple of showy moments (Walken’s cravat scene is a genuine stand out), and gives its ridiculously great ensemble some tailored monologues and barbed exchanges to wink their way easily through. But it is an obvious self aware exercise, lacking In Bruges’ emotional stickiness, lacking any kind of realistic heft, and sadly going along with a pedestrian gait to exactly where you expect it to. Very much like a very, very smart artist has knowingly made a Tarantino rip-off that isn’t anywhere near as ambitious as most Tarantino rip-offs were in their 90s heyday. Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead did this all far better. You get the feeling that foul mouthed gem wasn’t expecting any plaudits afterwards either. This seems to want all the smiley faces and gold stars going for having its hand up through the entire lesson but then saying nothing particularly exciting or revelatory. And to me that’s off-putting rather than outstanding.

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