|Directed by||Martin McDonagh|
|Written by||Martin McDonagh|
|Edited by||Lisa Gunning|
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Box office||$33 million|
Seven Psychopaths is a 2012 satirical black comedy crime drama film written and directed by Martin McDonagh. It stars Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Christopher Walken, with Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, and Željko Ivanek in supporting roles. The film marks the second collaboration among McDonagh, Farrell, and Ivanek, following the director's In Bruges (2008). It is a co-production of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Seven Psychopaths had its world premiere on 7 September 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and was theatrically released in the United States and Canada on 12 October 2012, and in the United Kingdom on 5 December 2012. The film received positive reviews from critics.
Marty is a struggling writer trying to complete his screenplay, Seven Psychopaths. His best friend, Billy, makes a living kidnapping dogs and collecting rewards for their safe return. His partner-in-crime is Hans, a religious man whose wife Myra has cancer.
Marty writes a story about a psychopath, the "Quaker", who stalks his daughter's killer for decades, driving him to suicide. Billy suggests Marty use the "Jack of Diamonds" killer, perpetrator of a recent double murder, as one of the seven. Billy puts an ad in the paper inviting psychopaths to share their stories for Marty's script. Zachariah Rigby approaches him, sharing his story of having been a part of a serial killer duo who killed other serial killers: the Texarkana Moonlight Murderer, the Cleveland Torso Killer, and the Zodiac killer. However Zachariah wants Marty to include a message to Maggie, his former partner in crime and lover, in the credits.
Billy and Hans steal Bonny, a Shih Tzu, the beloved pet of Charlie Costello, an unpredictable and violent gangster. His thugs, led by Paulo, discover Hans' connection to the kidnapping. They threaten to kill Marty and Hans, but the Jack of Diamonds killer arrives and kills them. Charlie traces Myra to the cancer ward and kills her when she refuses to tell him anything.
Billy goes to meet his girlfriend, Angela, who is also Charlie's girlfriend. After telling her he kidnapped Bonny, she snitches. Billy, discovering Charlie killed Myra, shoots Angela in retaliation. Charlie arrives at Billy's and discovers many packs of playing cards with the jack of diamonds missing, realizing he is the "Jack of Diamonds" killer.
Marty, Billy, and Hans leave for the desert with Bonny. Hans reveals that he was the Quaker, which Marty wrote the story about after hearing it from a drunken Billy. When the trio arrive to the desert, they set up camp. Billy suggests Seven Psychopaths end with a shootout between all of the psychopaths.
Marty and Hans see a headline saying that Billy is wanted in connection with the Jack of Diamonds killings. When he's confronted, he reveals that he assumed the Jack of Diamonds persona would inspire him, but Marty declares they must go home. Meanwhile, Hans has a vision of Myra in a "grey place," leading him to doubt his belief in the afterlife. He ignores Marty's reassurances that his vision was a peyote-induced hallucination. Billy sets the car on fire, stranding the trio. He then calls Charlie, giving him their location. To alleviate Hans' doubts about an afterlife, Billy claims to have impersonated Myra; but, not able to describe precisely what Myra had said to Hans in his vision of her (other than it was "grey" as Billy had overheard earlier), Hans walks away.
Billy, with Bonny in tow, impatiently waits for Charlie's arrival, intending to have a climactic shootout. Charlie arrives alone and unarmed, apart from a flare gun. An enraged Billy shoots him, feeling cheated out of a shootout. Marty drives away with Charlie, intending to take him to a hospital, when Billy realizes the flare gun's purpose and fires it. Hans finds Charlie's thugs awaiting the flare signal. The large group catches the attention of the police, who draw closer. Hans pretends to draw a weapon, causing Paulo to shoot him in front of the police. Before dying, he says "It isn't grey at all".
The thugs head towards the signal, with police in pursuit, and find Marty and Charlie, who reveals that he only suffered a flesh wound. With backup, Charlie returns to Billy. After a shootout, Charlie and Billy have a stand-off, respectively holding Marty and Bonny hostage. Charlie releases Marty and shoots Billy just as the police arrive. Charlie and Paulo are arrested, but Bonny stays at the dying Billy's side. Marty catches up with Hans's body, finding a tape recorder with suggestions for Seven Psychopaths.
Marty, having adopted Bonny, finishes the screenplay. Some time later, after the Seven Psychopaths movie is shown in theaters, he receives a call from Zachariah. He threatens to kill him for not leaving a message to Maggie as promised. On hearing Marty's weary and resigned acceptance, Zachariah realizes his experiences have left him a changed man, and decides to spare him.
- Colin Farrell as Marty Faranan
- Sam Rockwell as Billy Bickle
- Woody Harrelson as Charlie Costello
- Christopher Walken as Hans Kieslowski / The Quaker
- Harry Dean Stanton as The Imagined Quaker
- Tom Waits as Zachariah Rigby
- Brendan Sexton III as Young Zachariah Rigby
- Abbie Cornish as Kaya
- Olga Kurylenko as Angela
- Željko Ivanek as Paulo
- Linda Bright Clay as Myra Kieslowski
- Amanda Warren as Maggie Rigby
- Long Nguyen as the Vietnamese Priest / Thích Quảng Đức
- James Hébert as Killer
- Christine Marzano as The Hooker
- Kevin Corrigan as Dennis
- Gabourey Sidibe as Sharice
- Michael Pitt as Larry
- Michael Stuhlbarg as Tommy
- Helena Mattsson as Blonde Lady
The first casting announcements were made on 12 May 2011. Mickey Rourke left The Expendables 2 to co-star in the film. He later dropped out of Seven Psychopaths after disagreements with McDonagh, calling him a "jerk-off." He was replaced by Woody Harrelson. Of the incident, McDonagh said "I was fine with it. Mickey's a great actor [...] I've known Woody [Harrelson] for years and years, and he was a perfect choice for this too. He's got those great dramatic elements which he's shown in Rampart recently, and he's always been a fantastic comedian. You need that in this – someone who can be out-and-out funny, but also turn sinister on a dime."
The film's score was composed by Carter Burwell, who previously composed the score to McDonagh's In Bruges. Lakeshore Records released the soundtrack digitally on 23 October 2012, with a physical release date of 20 November 2012.
Seven Psychopaths was released in North America on 12 October 2012, and opened in 1,480 theaters in the United States. It grossed $1,360,000 on its opening day and $4,275,000 in its opening weekend, ranking #9 with a per theater average of $2,889. During its second weekend, it dropped down to #11 and grossed $3,273,480, with a per theater average of $2,212. By its third weekend, it dropped to #15 and made $1,498,350, with a per theater average of $1,494. It was released 5 December 2012 in the United Kingdom.
Seven Psychopaths received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 82%, based on 210 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Seven Psychopaths delivers sly cinematic commentary while serving up a heaping helping of sharp dialogue and gleeful violence." At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film holds a score of 66 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
Eric Kohn of IndieWire gave the film a positive review and an "A−" grade, praising McDonagh's writing, and stating that it "hits a unique pitch between dark, bloody satire and interpersonal conflicts that makes his finest work play like a combination of Quentin Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin." About the film itself, he wrote, "A less controlled and slapdash character piece than In Bruges, McDonagh's new movie benefits greatly from a plethora of one-liners that toy with crime movie clichés in the unlikely context of writerly obsessions." Claudia Puig of USA Today also gave the film a positive review, writing that "men in movies are often just overgrown boys, and Seven Psychopaths is out to prove it – in the most twisted, hilarious way possible." Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four. He praised the performances of main cast members and McDonagh's writing, stating that "Walken sometimes leans toward self-parody, but here his performance has a delicate, contained strangeness. All of the actors are good, and Farrell wisely allows the showier performances to circle around him. Like any screenwriter – like Tarantino, for example, who is possibly McDonagh's inspiration here – he brings these people into being and stands back in amazement." About the film, he added, "This is a delightfully goofy, self-aware movie that knows it is a movie." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B+" grade, stating, "An energetically demented psycho-killer comedy set in faux-noir L.A., Seven Psychopaths rollicks along to the unique narrative beat and language stylings of Anglo-Irish writer-director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges), channeling Quentin Tarantino."
David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter praised the performances of the main cast members, stating, "As creatively bankrupt Marty, Farrell is in subdued mode here, his performance largely defined by the endless expressivity of his eyebrows. He serves as an excellent foil for Rockwell, whose line readings continually dance between knowingness and idiocy, and Walken, who ventures as far into deadpan as you can go while remaining conscious. And Harrelson has fun contrasting his devotion to Bonny with his contempt for humanity." He wrote about the film that "while it's way behind the Pulp Fiction curve, Seven Psychopaths can be terrifically entertaining." Catherine Shoard of The Guardian gave the film four stars out of five, and wrote, "There are scenes of complete brilliance, Walken is better than he's been in years, cute plot loops and grace notes." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three stars out of four, stating, "Blood splatters, heads explode, and McDonagh takes sassy, self-mocking shots at the very notion of being literary in Hollywood. It's crazy-killer fun." Ty Burr of Boston Globe also gave the film three stars out of four, stating that the film is "absurdly entertaining even after it disappears up its own hindquarters in the last act, and it gives some of our weirder actors ample room to play."
Michael Phillips of Chicago Tribune gave the film three stars out of four, writing that "the result is a clever, violent daydream. But McDonagh's skill behind the camera has grown considerably since In Bruges. And the way he writes, he's able to attract the ideal actors into his garden of psychopathology." Dana Stevens of Slate magazine gave the film a positive review, stating, "It's at once a gangster movie, a buddy comedy, and a meta-fictional exploration of the limits of both genres - and if that sounds impossible to pull off, well, McDonagh doesn't, quite. But the pure sick brio of Seven Psychopaths takes it a long way." Richard Corliss of Time magazine also gave the film a positive review, writing that "small in stature but consistently entertaining, Seven Psychopaths is a vacation from consequence for the Tony- and Oscar-winning author, and an unsupervised play date for his cast of screw-loose stars." James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four, stating, "On balance, one could argue that Seven Psychopaths warrants a better rating than a mediocre **1/2, but the aftertaste is so bitter that it diminishes the sweetness that started off the meal."
Peter Debruge of Variety magazine gave the film a mixed review, writing that "the film's overall tone is so cartoony, it's easy to imagine someone spinning off a macabre animated series of the same name....." and that "compared to McDonagh's best work for stage (The Lieutenant of Inishmore) and screen (In Bruges), Seven Psychopaths feels like either an older script knocking around the bottom of a drawer or a new one hastily tossed off between more ambitious projects." Kevin Jagernauth of The Playlist also gave the film a mixed review, stating, "somewhat spastic and overcooked, Seven Psychopaths might have a few too many."
Awards and nominations
|6–16 September 2012||Toronto International Film Festival||People Choice Award – Midnight Madness||Martin McDonagh||Won|
|10–21 October 2012||London Film Festival||Best Film||Martin McDonagh||Nominated|
|9 December 2012||Boston Society of Film Critics||Best Cast||Won|
|11 December 2012||San Diego Film Critics Society||Best Performance by an Ensemble||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Christopher Walken||Nominated|
|10 February 2013||BAFTA Awards||Best British Film||Martin McDonagh, Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin||Nominated|
|9 February 2013||Irish Film & Television Awards||Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Feature Film||Colin Farrell||Nominated|
|Best Director – Film||Martin McDonagh||Nominated|
|Best Script – Film||Martin McDonagh||Nominated|
|23 February 2013||Independent Spirit Awards||Best Screenplay||Martin McDonagh||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Male||Sam Rockwell||Nominated|
|26 June 2013||Saturn Awards||Best Horror or Thriller Film||Nominated|
|Best Writing||Martin McDonagh||Nominated|
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