Martin McDonagh is no stranger to irony. Described by many as Ireland’s greatest living playwright, this latter day Samuel Beckett is in fact more British than bad teeth and a trip to the Tower of London.
It is perhaps fitting therefore, that McDonaghs latest film, Seven Psychopaths, is not the straight-ahead black comedy crime fest that the trailers might suggest. It also provides an insightful and highly original look into the reasoning behind criminal violence on the big screen.
The movie follows struggling alcoholic screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) as he gets hooked into a dog-napping scam with his mad cap buddy Billy. The dog belongs to a crazed gangster played by the marvelous Woody Harrelson. In the big budget world of Hollyweird this idea would have been enough for c-list success.But McDonagh refuses to accept easy genre choices for this movie, rather he uses an entertaining black comedy idea to hit us up with a philosophical Trojan horse, that works on a number of levels: for example: A character named Marty is writing a script Seven Psychopaths in a movie called Seven Psychopaths for a writer-director named Martin. And Marty is aided in the research for this screen-play by… you guessed it, a bunch of psychopaths.
Fans of brain splatter will not be disappointed however, as there are a number of scenes in this movie that have drawn comparisons to the work of Quentin Tarantino. Now Crimezine loves the big Q he is a master of his art, but McDonagh’s work offers more than wisecracks and bloodshed. Much more.
To Fans of McDonagh, this will come as no surprise. Seven Psychopaths is the writer/filmmakers third film. His first, the nutso 2006 film, Six Shooter won an Oscar for best short film. His second, the masterful In Bruges ,which also starred Farrell, received an Academy Award nomination for best original screen play in 2008.
But it is as a playwright that McDonagh really learned his craft. He has written several plays including the awesome Behanding of Spokane which starred Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell. McDonagh also received multiple Tony Awards for his other Broadway plays including; The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Lonesome West, The Pillowman and The Lieutenant of Inishmore.
So what is next for Ireland’s favorite Englishman we hear you cry. Well, it is back to the Theatre of course, for a new production with Tom Waits and avant-garde Director Robert Wilson. Crimezine hopes Waits will have his bunny rabbit with him.
Seven Psychopaths opens today in America. Go see it now. Tell them Crimezine sent ya.
On the subject of Waits, here is a juicy bit of trivia for you—the petulant go-go dancer on the front of Waits album Small Change is Cassandra Peterson AKA Elvira Mistress of the Dark. Happy Halloween Crimeziners!