Friday, November 9, 2012

Seven Psychopaths

David Fincher’s Seven dealt with the Seven Deadly sins. Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths deals with a hard drinking Irish writer named “Marty” (Colin Farrell) in search of a movie. If Marty is an alter ego for Mr. McDonagh then the seven psychopaths created by the writer, which include a serial murderer who leaves the Queen of Diamonds at the scene of his crimes and a Quaker, are a little like Pirandello’s Six Characters only this time they are sorely in search of a director. Still the movie is significant if for no other reason than the debt it owes to a series of predecessors from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining to Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, the Coen brothers No Country for Old Men and Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York. McDonagh’s movie estheticizes violence, along with everything in creation including the act of filmmaking itself. Amongst the many curiosities is a dognapper played by Christopher Walken who feigns reticence when grateful owners reward him for returning their pets (and whose comic exploits might hearken back to Ace Ventura). Walken who wears a cravat which covers the huge scar around his neck explains the nature of the garment to a mobster (Woody Harrelson) who has just murdered his black wife in a digression that recalls Tarantino’s famed “Royale With Cheese”sequence. The movie also includes a Vietnamese veteran whose family has been murdered at My Lai  and whose vengeance involves turning a hooker into an unwilling suicide bomber. And then there is the bizarre logic. Psychopath number one attacks Gandhi’s statement “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind” by saying “no it doesn’t there’ll be one guy left with an eye.” “The Spanish have bullfighters, the French Cheese and the Irish have drinking” is one explanation offered for Marty’s drunken muddle, though it might not explain how his creator went astray.

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