Jumbled Mayhem with an Undefined Message
Release Date: October 12, 2012
Genre: Crime Thriller
Runtime: 109 minutes
Distributor: CBS Films/Viacom
Director: Martin McDonagh
Executive Producer: Tessa Ross
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Address Comments To:Sumner Redstone, Chairman
Philippe Dauman, CEO
Leslie Moonves, CEO/President, CBS Corporation
Terry Press and Wolfgang Hammer, Co-President, CBS Films
11800 Wilshire Blvd.; Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: (310) 575-7700; Website: www.cbsfilms.com
SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is partly about the friendship between an Irish screenwriter in Hollywood, Marty, and his best friend, Billy. The story shows how Bill disrupts Marty’s personal and professional life.
Marty is trying to write a screenplay titled “Seven Psychopaths,” but he only has an idea for one psychopath and is past his deadline. Billy offers to help Marty write the screenplay, but Marty’s skeptical. He doesn’t know that Billy’s placed an ad in the paper asking real psychopaths to contact Marty so Marty can interview them and use their stories for his screenplay.
Marty’s life gets derailed when Billy’s dognapping business kidnaps a gangster’s beloved shih tzu dog, Bonny. The gangster vows to hunt down and kill the dognapper. Suddenly, Billy, Marty, and Billy’s elderly partner, Hans, find themselves dealing with a real-life psychopath. It soon becomes clear, however, that Billy is himself a violent psychopath.
While all this is happening, the characters hear three other stories involving four violent psychopaths.
There are several side characters and digressions involving other stories in this movie. Also, the script constantly subverts the viewer’s thoughts about where the movie is going. This can be funny, exciting and tense when unexpected things or bits of crazy, comical dialogue occur. However, it also deprives the movie of a certain level of cohesiveness.
That said, a running theme in the movie is the various reactions one can have when faced with the violence that a psychopath can cause in life. Several of the side characters decide to engage in vigilante justice, which brings out their own psychopathic tendencies. Also, it turns out that, when he was a young Amish man, Billy’s dognapping partner went on a hunt for vigilante justice when his daughter was murdered. That story of his earlier life ends in a bizarre and bloody twist, but the movie never reveals what happened to the partner between that time and his current activities as Billy’s partner in crime. The movie just shows that, somehow, the partner has returned to his more peaceful Christian roots, even though at one point he quotes an anti-violence statement the Non-Christian activist Gandhi once made.
[SPOILER ALERT] At the end of the movie, Marty decides to play the peacemaker between Billy and the irate gangster. Marty’s efforts result in him surviving, but it becomes clear that neither Billy nor the gangster can give up their violent nature. An unrelated story in the movie about a Vietnamese villager angry over the My Lai massacre in his village shows the villager opting to reject seeking revenge as a killer of American soldiers. Instead, he becomes one of the Buddhist monks who set fire to themselves to protest the violent war occurring in Vietnam.
Thus, the end of SEVEN PYSCHOPATHS becomes a sort of general call for pacifism and sacrificial protest in the face of violence. The filmmakers don’t attach any Christian significance to this solution, however, so it comes without any biblical foundation to it.
SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is too jumbled to be a four-star movie. It also has extreme violence, abundant foul language, dark humor, and brief sex and nudity. Also, the conclusion fails to take advantage of the movie’s occasional references to Christianity. Consequently, any entertainment value or artistic talent the movie displays is ultimately wasted. SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS may have more than just mayhem and dark humor on its mind, but its jumbled content, much of it offensive to media-wise moviegoers, will have problems finding a wide audience. The filmmaker behind it is an acclaimed playwright, but none of his plays has been really successful at the theatrical box office and, having now seen his first and second movie, his future movie projects clearly need to be steered in more positive, more fruitful and more cohesive directions.
The end of SEVEN PYSCHOPATHS becomes a general call for pacifism in the face of violence. However, the filmmakers don’t attach any Christian significance to this solution. So, it comes without any biblical foundation to it. SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is too jumbled to be a four-star movie. It also has extreme violence, some lewd content and abundant foul language. Also, the conclusion fails to take advantage of some occasional references to Christianity. Consequently, any entertainment value or aesthetic talent the movie displays is ultimately wasted. SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS may have more than just mayhem and dark humor on its mind, but its jumbled, edgy content will have problems finding a wide audience.