Is Seven Psychopaths the Greatest Irish Film of the Century?

SevenPsychopaths2012MovieTitleBannerMar­tin McDon­agh has done a brave thing here. He’s made a film that looks for all the world like a real­ly lazy, sub-Taran­ti­no Hol­ly­wood B movie, peo­pled by ris­i­bly sub-one-dimen­sion­al card­board cut-outs in a mes­mer­i­cal­ly unfun­ny so say pastiche.

But what he’s actu­al­ly pro­duced is a bril­liant­ly can­did por­trait of a writer par­a­lyzed by fear, who spends his days in an alco­holic haze pet­ri­fied that he has noth­ing to say.

Instead of fol­low­ing the writer in a con­ven­tion­al way though, what he’s done is to show us the kind of film that a writer like that would pro­duce if he real­ly was as untal­ent­ed as he secret­ly fears. And he were to insist on writ­ing a screen­play any­way, despite being per­ma­nent­ly inebriated.

Hence those tedious­ly clichéd char­ac­ters wan­der­ing around LA, spout­ing all that pseu­do-Taran­ti­no, wannabe Mamet dia­logue that the writer clear­ly thinks will sud­den­ly gain weight sim­ply by being con­stant­ly repeated.

Occa­sion­al­ly, the writer will com­ment on his fail­ings as a writer, as if by talk­ing about them he might be able to fix them. Which, need­less to say, is grat­ing­ly Cal­i­forn­ian, and is exact­ly the kind of thing a writer like that would think.

seven-psychopaths-walkenSome­how, despite being asked to wade through all this swill, Christo­pher Walken man­ages the remark­able feat of con­jur­ing up a per­for­mance of gen­uine charm. And Col­in Far­rell sim­i­lar­ly suc­ceeds in occa­sion­al­ly mak­ing you actu­al­ly feel for the writer. But then he’s forced to emit more of that drea­ry dia­logue. Which he then has to repeat. Again.

Of course there’ll be the less cineas­t­i­cal­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed who’ll no doubt claim that McDon­agh has gone from writ­ing plays that read like real­ly long episodes of Father Ted but with­out any of the jokes, to a sub-Taran­ti­no (did you get the ref­er­ence yet?) Hol­ly­wood pas­tiche with­out any of its jokes. And any­one who’s seen all six hours of Kill Bill will know what that feels like.

No way — I’m look­ing for a wit­ty, po-mo meta-rhyme, there it is — José. Sev­en Psy­chopaths is so much more than that.

Despite what it looks like, this is in fact a bril­liant dis­til­la­tion of the kind of unspeak­able script a writer might pro­duce, if he spent his every wak­ing hour doused in a ster­ile sea of cheap alco­hol that ren­dered his imag­i­na­tion com­plete­ly impo­tent. And as such, it’s a dev­as­tat­ing indict­ment of the demon drink. Oh the hor­ror. The hor­ror.

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