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Quint loves Seven Psychopaths for celebrating the art of screenwriting and the awesomeness of the Walken!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a few quick words on Martin McDonagh’s new flick, Seven Psychopaths. Unlike Affleck’s Argo, which seems to be getting fairly unanimous love from my colleagues, McDonagh’s film seems to be a bit more divisive.



Oddly, both films celebrate the art form of cinema. Argo highlights the industry and pre-production and Seven Psychopaths is a very focused deconstruction of the struggles of screenwriting.

Colin Farrell plays an insecure, drunk screenwriter desperately trying to craft a story out of a good title as the world around him starts to mirror his concept, bizarre characters and all.

In my Argo review I praised that film’s character actor ensemble and did a roll call. Here’s the roll call for Seven Psychopaths: Christopher Walken (that would be enough in any other movie, but he’s one of the leads!), Sam Rockwell, Tom Waits, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Pitt, Michael Stuhlbarg, Kevin Corrigan and Harry Dean Stanton. I left out Colin Farrell from that list and that might have been a bit unfair because for a leading man, he has a lot of character actor traits. Just look at his bizarro world performance in Daredevil if you don’t believe me.

Christopher Walken in particular hasn’t had a role as perfectly tailored for him in years. There was a period of time where Walken was appearing in everything, big and small, and then he kind of dropped off the map. He was still working, but not omnipresent as he was for the decade after Pulp Fiction.

Walken’s Hans doesn’t just go for the weird, funny Walken, but also plays to his dramatic strengths as well. There’s a scene where he sits down with Woody Harrelson’s Charlie that has Walken delivering a line that works on at least three different levels. There’s a depth to his character here that was a very welcome surprise.



His particular cadence and personality have made him kind of a goofy actor in most films, but people forget that he’s one of those rare actors that can easily portray comedy (The Rundown), tragedy (The Deer Hunter) and menace (True Romance). This role lets him play to all his strengths.

And he gets to play with some other fantastic actors. Walken getting to spend most of the movie playing with Sam Rockwell is one of the reasons I unapologetically took to this movie. Those are two of our best working character actors and both of them are playing rather complex people who seem innocently silly on the surface.

Farrell has a bit more work to do as a character. While he is without a doubt the main character, he has to spend most of the movie as the observer. He’s playing McDonagh, or at least an exaggerated version of him, as I imagine the writer/director was during the writing of this script.



He probably had the exact same journey that Farrell’s Marty did (and I don’t think that name is a coincidence). Writers can be struck with paralysis as they struggle to get a coherent mix of their ideology and understanding of storytelling down on the page. Making Farrell’s character that exact guy, a pacifist trying to write a movie about psychopaths, forces him to be the straight man as the world gets crazier and crazier all around him.

From a writer’s perspective, this story is incredibly smart. I mean, half of the movie is the writer sitting between literal representations of both sides of his mind. On the one side is Rockwell, who is all about the big, over the top audience satisfying violence and on the other is Walken, a man who has every reason in the world to embrace that, but has a concrete moral character that can not be swayed no matter how much he enjoys listening to Rockwell go off.



The theme of the movie is exactly represented by its three leads. That’s such an incredibly smart bit of writing. It’s simple, but easy to overlook if you just want to go for a fun time at the movies.

And the movie is fun. And funny. It is one of those kinds of movies I feel was made specifically for me, from concept to casting to final product. It’s like I was the focus group for this one.

So, I love this one. Hopefully some of you guys got to catch it this weekend and can let me know if I’m all alone with that opinion or not.

-Eric Vespe
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Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 14, 2012, 7:11 p.m. CST

    I loved it too

    by macheesmo3

    THO, it DOES bog down a bit in the 2nd act and the ending is a bit of a .........meh... But overall, it's just so well written and performed I didn't care.

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 7:13 p.m. CST

    Here here!

    by Luke

    Saw this immediately after work on Friday. McDonagh delivers a film every bit as satisfying as In Bruges, which I thought was the best film the year it came out. He is firmly atop my list of must watch directors!

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 7:48 p.m. CST

    Great flick

    by Dan Anthony

    The charm of the actors and wit and cohesion of the dialog held it together. Very cool film, and agree with Quint completely.

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 7:51 p.m. CST

    We loved it....

    by ZaphodBeeblerox

    My wife and I both saw it this afternoon. While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, there was quite a bit of laughter throughout the theater. If my wife stays awake an engaged during a movie, thats saying something.

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 7:53 p.m. CST

    I thought it was great

    by Logan_1973

    You're right Quint. It's funny and smart; two traits that we usually don't get together these days.

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 8:17 p.m. CST

    It was okay

    by CountryBoy

    Sorry Quint... I mean I enjoyed it well enough, but it just seemed too Tarantino-esque. For me, the thing that made IN BRUGES work was the contrast of the quaint European backdrop, and Brendan Gleeson's earnest appreciation of it, with Farrell's anguish and the looming violence. In this, everything was sort of pitched at the same level of winking "outrageousness," so it all paradoxically came off as kind of self-conscious and dated. Again, it was entertaining; I laughed, I cringed; but I just felt I'd seen it all before.

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 8:59 p.m. CST

    A very fun movie! This is the kind of writing it takes to keep us guessing these days.

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

    Martin McDonagh's style of writing is the opposite of Damon Lindelof's. Damon Lindelof's style of using a never explained mythology as the Macguffin is the epitome of lazy, piss pour, shit writing.

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 9:05 p.m. CST

    You've seen the Seven Psychocats trailer, right?

    by Stegman84

    It's on youtube if you haven't. Go for the NSFW version. Fun stuff. Just like the movie itself.

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 9:11 p.m. CST

    Miami Screening

    by DustinBones

    Watched it a few weeks back at a screening. Damn, it was absolutely hilarious.

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 9:41 p.m. CST

    by stu02339

    So this isn't Smokin' Aces 2.0?

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 10:17 p.m. CST

    oh god no, smokin aces

    by macheesmo3

    wishes it was a fourth this interesting, well written and not shitty

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 10:19 p.m. CST

    Eileen Jones on ExiledOnline

    by radii

    she's the only reviewer that matters ... writes circles around the next 10 combined

  • Oct. 14, 2012, 10:20 p.m. CST

    without all the action and no glam

    by radii

    Smokin' Aces you didn't care what it was supposed to be about - it was a pure glorification of style and worked well on that level

  • Oct. 15, 2012, 7:41 a.m. CST

    Excellent film. Loved Waits's character.

    by 2for2true

  • Oct. 15, 2012, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Thought it was brilliantly written.

    by bagwanbob

    My wife and I both felt that the cast meshed perfectly, and that the acting was dead on. There were times, while watching this movie, that I found myself staring at the screen, overcome by what I was hearing.

  • Oct. 15, 2012, 8:29 a.m. CST

    A fine genre-wrecking meta-film.

    by TheMachinist

    I liked it.

  • Oct. 15, 2012, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Broose Wuain. Wwhy are you dressed az bahtman?

    by UltraTron

  • Oct. 15, 2012, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Sanna clauze, fraid noht. Ahm jus a poorah shmo, goht lucky.

    by UltraTron

  • Oct. 15, 2012, 10:38 a.m. CST

    One of the better movies I've seen in a while...

    by Andrew Coleman

    It will catch on once it hits Redbox/Streaming. Cult classic easily.

  • Oct. 15, 2012, 11:22 a.m. CST

    I'm with you on this one Quint. Screw the ones who don't get it. (Kidd)

    by kindofabigdeal

  • I was on board from the grt go with this movie and loved it. This reminds me of my experience with Jim Carreys the Cable Guy when I was cracking up to a movie that people just didnt seem to get. Fuck other people that didnt find this movie hilarious and amazing.

  • Oct. 15, 2012, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Loved this movie so much more than i thought i would

    by Jackson

    I thought I'd leave this movie in a good mood, but not completely satisfied. But wow, it was amazing. Funny, smart, great acting, great characters, great plot, amazing subplots. Its the best movie of the year so far.