The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Seven Reasons to see “Seven Psychopaths”

Two dog kidnappers, a Shih Tzu and the brilliant mind of writer and director Martin McDonagh are all it takes to create a witty dark comedy like “Seven Psychopaths.” Set in Hollywood, the main character, Marty (Colin Farrel), is a screenwriter who has dreams to write his film, “Seven Psychopaths.”

Lacking inspiration, Marty is stuck with only an interesting title, a life of alcohol and writers block. Parallel to Marty’s life is that of his friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), an unemployed actor. He and his friend Hans (Christopher Walken) also run a “business” by stealing people’s dogs, then returning them for a cash reward. Things take a crazy turn when the dog-napping duo accidentally take the Shih Tzu of mob leader Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson). Marty then crosses into Billy and Hans’ bizarre life in an attempt to finally get the inspiration he needs for his film. But in their adventure with the Shih Tzu in a desert where they are hiding from an angry and violent Costello, the madness increases as the characters in his film become alive in his own world.

Here are seven reasons why the oddball film is definitely worth watching:

1. Diverse Characters
Ranging from the frustrated writer with a “drinking problem” to the tough mob boss with a soft side, the variety of characters that McDonagh develops is refreshing. Sure, they’re odd and frankly quite random at times, but they all add to the mixture crazy and weird people in the movie. Not only is the group of characters diverse, but you see different facets of each person that you wouldn’t expect. Hans, a devout and non-violent Christian, is involved in a dog-napping business and is later revealed to have had a strangely violent past. Charlie Costello is introduced as the tough mob boss who has his crime entourage armed with guns, but ends up almost bawling like a baby at the thought of his little Shih Tzu being kidnapped. Each part of the movie brings in new and unexpected personality facets in each of the characters, surprising viewers every minute.

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2. Fluid Conversation
McDonagh creates dialogue between the characters that’s natural and accurately represents fast-paced conversation between two friends. In the conversations, there are tons of jokes and times that are reminiscent of flat-out inane and ludicrous talks with close friends. But aside from the dialogue, the character monologues bring out epiphanies while constantly building the action.

3. Bonny, the Shih Tzu
Bonny, Charlie Costello’s Shih Tzu dog, somehow remains calm throughout the entire movie, despite the fact that more than seven characters’ lives have suddenly been thrown into total chaos because of her kidnapping. Bonny doesn’t do much at all during the entire movie – but that’s only because she’s just your average Shih Tzu. Seeing Bonny sitting in the corner or on a seat in a car staring blankly around her brings laughs to viewers that are reminded of who ridiculous this dog-napping fiasco is.

4. Mocks Hollywood’s obsession with violence
Unlike Hollywood’s usual action movies that are filled with blood, gore and shootings, Marty wants to create a movie without violence and focused on peace and living in harmony with one another in a non-violent society. It’s almost as if McDonagh was taking the opportunity to point out Hollywood’s weird obsession with violence and how a “good action movie” has to have someone dying and a “final shoot out.”

5. Right amount of laughable violence
Despite this, there’s just enough violence in the movie to get a good laugh out of McDonagh’s mockery of Hollywood’s obsessions with final fight scenes. Billy, who constantly wants to be a part of the stereotypical Hollywood action movie, finally succeeds in insitigating the “ideal final shoot out.” Be warned, for Billy’s description of the final shoot out fits the typical blood-and-guns movie so well that every machine gun blast, kill and dying plea is comical.

6. Bizarre fiction becomes reality
So what does screenwriting have to do with psychopaths? Marty continues to lack inspiration for what his seven psychopaths should be. Time after time, he’s revising and changing the stories behind each of his characters. When all these characters are introduced to his own life, the line between who’s a normal person and who could be a psychopath gets blurred. At times, the character ideas that run through Marty’s mind may seem out of place, but it doesn’t take McDonagh long to seamlessly connect the ideas in Marty’s head to people interacting with Marty in his life.

7. Balances humor and sophistication
“Seven Psychopaths” isn’t just a movie with kooky characters and a ridiculous plot centered around a Shih Tzu. Yes, there are tons of lines and scenes that will make you laugh, but the characters themselves are far from the norm. But between the wisecracks and the mockery of Hollywood violence – believe it or not – epiphanies come about. Characters begin to realize that their original intentions may have been clouded by their actions. Marty’s desire to develop a non-violent movie about seven psychopaths seems unlikely to happen without the typical blood and gore, but in the end, with the help of the people and experiences he’s gone through, he comes to a bright realization. However, McDonagh is careful not to push too many poetic realizations on viewers and is quick to fluidly switch back to the jocose and bizarre nature of the movie.

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