Thursday, 18 October 2012

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Will Woody Harrelson ever play a sweet, charming, leading man?

Leggy Olga Kurylenko at the TIFF 2011 premiere.
At a glance:
You will finish writin a screenplay if your screenplay is about the difficulty in writin a screenplay. That's the almost meta-movie that came out of Martin McDonagh's mind (In Bruges, 2008) - a bizarre Tarantinoesque tale generously dipped in dark humour, ostensibly less fun than the recent Killer Joe (2012) but more heart than say, Rubber (2010) or Hit And Run (2012). It's the kind of movie you're dyin to like as soon as you see the poster or watch the trailer. Hymen-thin plottin revolves around three central characters - alcoholic scriptwriter Marty (Colin Farrell), his maligned friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) and an peculiar old guy named Hans (Christopher Walken). The latter two run a small time dognapping syndicate and cowboy mobster Charlie (Woody Harrelson) just happens to have a missin shih tzu. Part of the joy of such a movie is watchin the characters enter, so I'll spare you the mazy ensemble minutiae.
Bad news on the doorstep:
One of many memes on the official Seven Psychopaths Facebook page.

All the scenes cut a pretty picture and if viewed on their own separately, look as if they're from the next Pulp Fiction (1994). Variety's Peter Debruge argues that ironically enough, the McDonagh's "apparent lack of any attempt to make a grand artistic statement could easily make this outing his most accessible project to date". It's definitely easy on the eyes with such a handsome cast - I'm one of those who'd pay good money just to see Christopher Walken walk a dog. However, while this juicy project is not short of energy or violence, its charm pivots on your empathy with the characters; and this is purposefully manipulated to reward and frustrate your expectations at every turn. That is to say, the movie wrote itself to the finishin line, to hell with the audience. 
Perennial wonderment:
Talk about gettin even. Never cared for Colin Farrell but here's somethin interestin for you - apparently Mickey Rourke dropped out of this because he had a problem with the director and Woody Harrelson took his role. In the movie, there's a tombstone with Rourke's name on it. Recently, it was reported that Rourke tweeted about how we shouldn't watch the movie because it's unwatchable and a waste of time. Ha!
Reminds me of:
You know how Machete (2010) was the unlikely end product of a fake Tarantino trailer that was picked up on? I got a feelin one of the stories in the caper could do with one of those. It's the one about a Vietnamese priest.
Harry Dean Stanton
Harry Dean Stanton
I can't remember if I cried:
When Olga Kurylenko appeared for just the duration of which it takes you to say her name. Cheated! In fact, Kurylenko, Abbie Cornish and Gabourey Sidibe probably had just 10 minutes screen time between them.
Most memorable line:
Next to an inspired five minutes of  Sam Rockwell catharsis near the end, the Gandhi joke in the trailer is the best moment of the movie for me. In fact, it's that tone of humour that permeates throughout the movie.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
It's strange that my wife enjoyed it more than me. I guess I wanted it to be a new spin on The Usual Suspects (1995) or somethin like that. Seven Psychopaths (2012) begs you to go crazy with it but I reckon only half of are willin and a further half of that are able.★★1/2
Bonus material:
You know what the annoying thing is?
Not all seven of the actors are the so-called psychopaths! Sheesh.