Seven Psychopaths – derivative retread hell


“Seven Psychopaths” is what a filmmaker makes when he thinks no one is looking.  Writer/director Michael McDonagh has hit the skids of derivative and retread hell – think “Pulp Fiction” only on a smaller budget, if that’s possible. He says his new film has a moral conundrum (NY Times Magazine October 14, 2012) but if it does he does not commit to it.

McDonagh also says he finds Shakespeare boring. Fine, everyone has a right to their own opinion. But why did you choose to become boring, too?

You cannot just feel bad about blood and violence. If someone, a character, doesn’t change there is no movie. It’s just a gory dalliance.

I have a very hard time with violent movies but unlike his 2008 masterwork “In Bruges”, “Seven Psychos” is lazy, a cheap cartoon. It’s shot in “as is” Los Angeles and the nearby desert. That’s it. The house near downtown looks like the same one in “A Better Life”; even the furniture looks the same. The thread of violence that binds these characters together, so what? The cat-and-mouse game with kidnapping the dogs and returning them for a reward was funny and some of the dialogue was mildly clever. But the Hollywood self-referent and self-conscious angst of the writer played by Colin Farrell was painful to watch and rang phony.

If “In Bruges” was art, “Seven Psychopaths” is nothing.

I expected more.

If this is supposed to be some kind of treatise on the banality of gratuitous violence in movies, who are you preaching to?

I hope Mr. McDonagh knows how to sing more than one note because a brilliant someone made “In Bruges.”



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