‘Seven Psychopaths’ violent yet funny

Movie review
By: Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger
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“Seven Psychopaths”
Directed by Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken
Rating: Five out of five stars

‘Seven Psychopaths’ violent yet funny

By Frank Miller
Special to The News Messenger

The main character of “Seven Psychopaths” is a screenwriter named Marty who doesn’t want to make a typical action movie.
Tired of the mindless violence in Hollywood, he wants to make a “guys with guns” film that is life-affirming and, ultimately, about peace.
Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, who gave us the delightfully black “In Bruges,” there is a bit of art imitating life in “Seven Psychopaths.” The themes in the movie reflect McDonagh’s main character’s desires as a screenwriter.
The film revolves around Marty (Colin Farrell) and his dim-witted friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) who makes ends meet stealing dogs and then returning them to their owners for a handsome reward.
Billy steals a Shih Tzu from a small-time gangster (Woody Harrelson) who is so emotionally attached to the pooch that he pulls out all the stops to be reunited with his beloved dog.
Fleeing the mob, and trying to write a screenplay at the same time, Marty battles his demons with alcohol and draws inspiration for his characters from the off-beat people he surrounds himself with.
The film alternates between disturbing images of extreme violence and coffee-black bits of humor. It will shock you, turn on a dime and make you laugh all in the span of a few minutes.
The film is buoyed by some wonderful performances from the titular psychopaths. Christopher Walken has played some peculiar people in his day and his role as a fellow dog-napper seems
tailor-made to his brand of kook.
While maybe not as well-rounded as “In Bruges,” and not as consistently funny, “Seven Psychopaths” still accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is to create an off-beat film about violence and positivity.
In an industry filled with bullet-ridden bodies lining the frame of most adult entertainment, “Seven Psychopaths” dares to challenge those expectations and carve its own humorously disturbing niche.

Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer.