Seven Psychopaths (Blu-ray)

A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu.

February 11, 2013 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Just over twenty years ago I watched a little movie called Reservoir Dogs directed by a then very unknown Quentin Tarantino (heard of that guy)?  A couple of years later I watched a movie called The Usual Suspects directed by Bryan Singer (remember him)?  Both of these had a few things in common and they share it with a film I just finished watching with the title Seven Psychopaths.  I was reading a medical journal or something of the nature in a doctor’s office not too long ago and it said that there aren’t actually too many bona fide psychopaths in the world.  A true psychopath is someone who really show no compassion or remorse for the things they do.  I guess part of being human is that we feel bad (or good) when we do those respective things.  Ok, great – so what’s all of this got to do with this movie in question?  Nothing, perhaps.  It’s all a segue into the point I’m attempting to make which is simply not to judge a movie by its poster.  I remember the film coming out and hearing some good things.  The cast was interesting and I’m pretty much a fan of anything that Sam Rockwell does.  But dog kidnapping, mobsters and such – well this I just had to see.

Marty (Colin Farrell) is a struggling screenwriter in Hollywood.  He’s got a drinking problem and a case of writer’s block and his best friend/worst enemy Billy (Sam Rockwell) isn’t helping matters all too much.  Billy along with his literal partner in crime, Hans (Christopher Walken), run a scheme in Los Angeles where they kidnap dogs then show up after a reward has been posted and collect.  There are many ways to make a living, but this has got to be one of the strangest I’ve ever heard of.  As fate would have it, they kidnap (or dognap) a local Mafia boss’ (Woody Harrelson) Shih Tzu.  Charlie (Harrleson) loves the dog more than life itself, so he’s on an all out rampage to find the culprits.  The stories tend to intermingle when Charlie intersects with Marty and Billy and things go from bad to worse.  I neglected to mention the name of the screenplay that Marty’s writing – Seven Psychopaths

I really can’t give too much more about the plot away without ruining it and I certainly don’t want to do that.  I’m a big fan of several of the lead actors in the film with Harrleson and Walken being atop that list.  I mean, who can’t like Christopher Walken?  That’s right, no one.  What the film reminded me of was some of the movies from the 90’s and I believe I left out one called 2 Days in the Valley which introduced us to Charlize Theron as a actress.  If ever a film epitomized the “dark comedy” genre, then this is it.  Much like director McDonagh’s previous film “In Bruges” this has the perfect mix of humor and violence (and a lot of the latter) that make for a very interesting mix.  While it might polarize viewers, I found it to be pretty interesting and nice to see Farrell playing something that’s so him, yet so unlike him at the same time.

Video: How does it look?

The film comes to Blu-ray in a somewhat inconsistent 2.40:1 AVC HD image.  I do believe that the movie is intentionally filmed this way with some of LA’s not so glossy sights being on display.  Some of the shots have a fine layer of grain on them while others look crystal clear.  The detail on Colin Farrell’s five-o’clock shadow is impressive as are the wrinkles on Walken’s forehead.  The latter part of the movie finds the characters in the desert where we get some pretty scenic and picturesque views of the Joshua Tree National Park.  Overall it’s a nice-looking film, but one that’s a bit too hit and miss with me to get a higher score.  Granted this might have been done on purpose, but that being said – it’s certainly not anything that will deter you from the action on screen.

Audio: How does it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio track is something that really explodes (in the most literal sense of the word) in the third act of the movie.  A majority of the movie is dialogue-driven and we do get to hear Colin Farrell with his native Irish accent, which is a nice change of pace.  As the action heats up we get some guns being fired, some cars blowing up and just about everything in between.  The surrounds are fairly active during this ending scene and though it’s not reference quality by any means, it’s a nice solid mix that’s sure to delight.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Unfortunately as well-reviewed as this film is, we don’t get a lot of substance when it comes to the supplements on this disc.  Yes, we do get an UltraViolet copy.  We get an EPK with the aptly-titled “Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths” which is an all to brief featurette on the film, “Crazy Locations” is just that – it tells us of the locales used in the film, the rather unusual locations used (the Labrea Tar Pits, anyone?) and the Joshua Tree National Park.  “Woody Harrleson as Charlie” and “Colin Farell as Marty” are pretty much the same thing which feature the actors discussing their roles in the film.  “Seven Psychocats” is, you guessed it, some scenes of the film acted out by dressed up cats (complete with the actors’ voices).  Odd.  Lastly we get “Layers” which is just a rap style montage of some scenes from the film.  Maybe I missed the joke there, but that’s 1:27 seconds of my life I want back.

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