Seven Pyschopaths (2012)

Guest Blogger: John Grant, author of A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir: The Essential Reference Guide, due on shelves at the end of October. Check out Noirish, John Grant’s noir blog that goes above and beyond the Encyclopedia.

An intermittently amusing noirish black comedy, this is McDonagh’s follow-up to IN BRUGES (2008), which also starred Farrell. It’s at its best in its parodies of the Tarantino school of neonoir.

Wannabe Hollywood scriptwriter Marty Faranan (Farrell) has an idea for a screenplay title—The Seven Psychopaths—but not for the screenplay to go with it, except that it should abjure violence and promote peace and love. His best friend, actor Billy Bickle (Rockwell), moonlights for elderly Hans Kieslowski (Walken), who’s running a dognapping racket to help pay for the cancer treatments of his hospitalized wife Myra (Clay). Billy’s latest capture, Barney, is a shihtzu belonging to psycho hoodlum Charlie Costello (Harrelson), who’s prepared to commit major mayhem in order to get his pet back.

Billy feeds Marty stories about deranged killers, notably one about a Quaker (Stanton) who dogs the psychopathic murderer of his daughter until the latter, reckoning the father won’t follow him to Hell, slits his own throat . . . only to see the vengeful Quaker do likewise. Another psycho, Zachariah (Waits), responds to a newspaper ad Billy places and tells his own story, of how he and his girlfriend Maggie (Warren) in their youth were serial killers of uncaught serial killers; she left him when he balked at their savage murder of the Zodiac Killer (Wharton). A further psycho introduced tangentially is Vietnamese pseudo-priest Dinh (Nguyen), who has come to the US seeking revenge for the slaughter of his family in My Lai.

Keep reading on NOIRISH!

Featuring rumpled PIs, shyster lawyers, corrupt politicians, double-crossers, femmes fatales, and, of course, losers who find themselves down on their luck yet again, film noir is a perennially popular cinematic genre. This extensive encyclopedia describes movies from noir’s earliest days – and even before, looking at some of noir’s ancestors in US and European cinema – as well as noir’s more recent offshoots, from neonoirs to erotic thrillers. Entries are arranged alphabetically, covering movies from all over the world – from every continent save Antarctica – with briefer details provided for several hundred additional movies within those entries. A copious appendix contains filmographies of prominent directors, actors, and writers.

With coverage of blockbusters and program fillers from Going Straight (US 1916) to Broken City (US 2013) via Nora Inu (Japan 1949), O Anthropos tou Trainou (Greece 1958), El Less Wal Kilab (Egypt 1962), Reportaje a la Muerte (Peru 1993), Zift (Bulgaria 2008), and thousands more, A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir is an engrossing and essential reference work that should be on the shelves of every cinephile.



Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on October 18, 2013, in Film & TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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