Zach: My name is Zachariah Rigby, I left a message on Billy's telephone in answer to the advertisement. Billy: Well, I tell you, Zachariah. If you sounded like a nut, I probably just deleted you. Zach: ...I don't think I sounded like a nut. Billy: Were you screaming about eating my heart off a tray and then shitting on it? Zach: No... no, I wouldn't do that. Billy: Okay, you seem normal. Come on in. We gotta get this dog off the street because it's kidnapped from a maniac.
Seven Psychopaths is a 2012 dark comedy written and directed by Martin McDonagh, and starring Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, and Woody Harrelson.Marty (Farrell) is a struggling screenwriter, currently attempting to get his next screenplay, titled Seven Psychopaths, past the title. Struggling at the first hurdle of who and what the seven psychopaths are, especially so as he doesn't want it to be a stock Summer Blockbuster thriller about men with guns. Thus, Marty starts hanging out with his best friend and dog-kidnapper Billy (Rockwell), who does his best to help him out. Unfortunately for Marty, Billy isn't happy enough helping with writing, and attempts to get things moving by putting out a personal ad asking psychopaths to contact them.Meanwhile, Billy's partner-in-crime Hans (Walken) soon learns the hard way that a Shih Tzu they recently took named Bonny belongs to Charlie Costello (Harrelson), an excessively-violent, short-tempered gangster with a rather creepy obsession with his dog. Naturally, things soon go to hell very quickly and Marty soon finds himself trapped in a very difficult (albeit script-inspiring) situation and surrounded by several psychopaths.It was released in the United States on October 12, 2012, Seven Psychopaths has several notable co-stars (even including Tom Waits himself), and has received strong praise from both critics and the public, like its predecessor.
This film provides examples of:
Actual Pacifist: Hans. Even when he drove his daughter's killer to suicide, he never laid a hand on him.
Also, Martin. He doesn't believe in guns.
Costello: Don't you wish you had a gun now? Martin: No.
Anti-Climax: Zigzagged when it comes to the final shootout. Billy called Charlie to come pick up his dog, and Billy makes Charlie promise he'll come alone and unarmed. But Billy is fully expecting him to do neither of these things. So then when Charlie does come alone and unarmed, Billy is pretty angry about it. However we soon realize Charlie did come with people right behind him. So then we briefly get a shoot out, but then the ending still ends up being anti-climactic, because when Billy tries to pull a suicide by villain the villain's gun jams. They talk some more and the villain tries again and his gun jams again. They talk some more and finally Charlie shoots Billy.
Better than a Bare Bulb: Being a film about writing a script, tropes are lampshaded, discussed and deconstructed rather often. This becomes more apparent as it gets further into the film, as Marty talks more about his work with Hans and Billy, they make more suggestions (which include common tropes).
Billing Displacement: Both Abbie Cornish and Olga Kurylenko play fairly minor characters with limited screentime but appear in the trailer and on the poster when Linda Bright Clay, Long Nguyen and Zeljko Ivanek don't despite playing arguably more important characters.
Bittersweet Ending: Billy and Hans are both dead, but Charlie is locked up and Marty has finished his screenplay. Whether Marty is actually in a better place is a bit ambiguous.
Black and Gray Morality: There are very few 'good' guys, just people who are not as bad as the others. The heroes, after all, kidnap dogs and scam their owners.
Marty is pretty White, not being involved in the dog kidnapping and clearly disapproving of it, as well as being an Actual Pacifist. The worst thing about him is that he's The Alcoholic and is not very nice to his girlfriend
Brainless Beauty: The Hooker in Martin's first draft comes across as a bit of an airhead. Amusingly, in Hans' rewrite she is turned into an intellectual who studied Vietnamese at Yale. Though even here she is turned into a beautiful American woman the Vietnamese monk saw in passing but didn't meet.
Comedic Sociopathy: A Black Comedy-esque take of "comedic." Largely Deconstructed with Billy, who can barely put forward a veneer of superficial charm and who eagerly lies and endangers his friends and lovers in hopes of getting along with them.
Country Matters: Billy uses the term cunt several times over the movie, including as a term for Marty's girlfriend for no real reason.
All of the other characters, including the murderous psychopaths, are appalled by Marty's drinking problem. One scene even has Hans, a man pursued by serial killers and high from Peyote abuse, criticizing Marty's use of alcohol:
Hans: You might wanna stop drinking, Martin, if this is the way you're gonna behave. Marty: If this is the way I'm gonna— this guy just telephoned a psycho-killer to come down and psycho-kill us! And this guy's doubting a lifelong belief in the afterlife because of a psychedelic cactus he just ate! And you motherfuckers are telling me to behave?
Hans' wife in the hospital when cornered by Charlie.
Myra: You figure it out, dumb-ass.
Hans also tells Marty to "have some faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior" and resist interrogation when Charlie's mooks have them at gunpoint.
Hans himself, when threatened by Charlie's Mooks, refuses to comply with their demands at all, causing them to become utterly flabbergasted. He eventually pretends to pull a gun on them, causing them to shoot him
Fake-Out Fade-Out: The movie starts to fade to credits as Marty finishes his screen play and happy music plays, only for the film to continue in a matter of seconds with Zachariah reminding Marty that he forgot his message to Maggie in the credits and he was going to kill him. Marty responds with weak acceptance. Zachariah notices his tone and seems to decide to spare him.
Faux Affably Evil: Charlie can be pretty well spoken and have moments of genuine kindness to Bonnie, but he's mentally unstable and will pretty much kill anything that moves.
From the point where Hans, Billy and Marty are all in the car, everything they say about what should happen in their screenplay happens in the film, from the main characters "just sitting around talking" to the details and location of the "big shootout."
When Billy tells Martin about the Quaker Psychopath, he mentions that he heard the story from a friend. And in Hans' first scene with Myra, they mention having lost a child.
At one point Billy helps to write a shootout scene for Marty's script; not only do Marty and Hans point out that nobody would trust a villain to come alone, nobody ever expects him to be unarmed either. In the real life ending, however, Charlie actually comes alone and unarmed simply because they told him to.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Charlie when it comes to his dog, Bonnie. Granted, he is a psychopath, but when his dog walker loses his Shih Tzu, he has her hunted down, tied to a chair, and then starts threatening to murder her.He does settle for shooting the wall behind her when she's found innocent, however.
The Heavy: None of the movie would have happened without Billy's actions.
Hidden Depths: All of the main characters, and very nearly all of the side characters.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: A whole movie of it. Marty is working on a film called Seven Psychopaths, and the story of the film he's writing is directly inspired by the real events around him, which make up the plot of the real film. Their conversations about their film directly correspond to the actual film they're in.
Hans: Well, as Gandhi said... Billy: Oh, you two. If it ain't Gandhi, it's Jesus Christ. Hans: "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." I believe that wholeheartedly. Billy: (several beats) No, it doesn't. There'll be one guy left with one eye. How's the last blind guy gonna take out the eye of the last guy left who's still got one eye? All that guy has to do is run away and hide behind a bush! Gandhi was wrong, it's just that nobody's got the balls to come right out and say it.
Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers go into little detail on the screenwriting plot, choosing instead to focus on the dognapping subplot. This probably confused a lot of filmgoers who were expecting a much lighter comedy. Also there's that whole matter of portraying Christopher Walken killing a bunch of folk, despite the fact that he's actually a pacifist who doesn't kill a single person outside of the imagination scene from the screenplay.
Non-Indicative Name: There are only six "psychopaths" in the film. Billy is counted twice. Although you could arguably count Myra as the 7th, since she participated in the same scheme that gets Hans labelled a psychopath.
Marty: (sighs) Yeah... But it's not what I wanna really be writin' about anymore.
Billy: (Beat) Hey new idea how 'bout we change the title from The Seven Psychopaths to The Seven Lesbians Who Are All Disabled And Have Overcome All Their Spazzy Shit And Are Really Nice to Everybody And Two of Them Are Black. How 'bout that?
Pet the Dog: Charlie lets his dog caretaker live after finding out about the scam Billy and Hans run, realizing she wasn't at fault.
Paulo: Put your hands up! Hans: No. Paulo: (beat) What? Hans: I said no. Paulo: Why not? Hans: Because I don't want to. Paulo: (beat) ...But I've got a gun. Hans: I don't care. Paulo: It doesn't make any sense! Hans: (laughing) Too bad.
Real Men Love Jesus: Hans is a very devout old-fashioned Christian. His faith is specifically mentioned as the source of his confidence and tranquility.
The Reveal: Billy is the Jack of Diamonds and Hans is the Quaker Psychopath.
Revenge by Proxy: Billy kills Charlie's girlfriend after Charlie kills Hans' wife.
Marty: ...No, I don't. So why don't you go fuck yourself?
The Sociopath: The overwhelming majority of the titular Seven Psychopaths, unsurprisingly. The Quaker is one of the more ethical, while Charlie, Zachariah, Maggie, and especially the Jack of Diamonds are outright frightening.
The Stinger: Zachariah calls up Marty to say that he's going to kill him for not sticking his message to Maggie at the end of his film as promised. Although this scene actually is that message, which is why Zach leaves him alone.
Take That: When Hans eats Peyote and gets a vision of a woman in purgatory:
Marty: Maybe you've just eaten too many hallucinogenic cactuses tonight, Hans. Hans: Nothing to do with the hallucinogens. Marty: But you've just seen [a woman] on a chair with a bullet through her head. Hans: In some gray place. Marty: England? Hans: It seemed a lot worse than that. Marty: [shocked] Wow...
Wham Line: Psychopath No. 7... and Psychopath No. 1.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Kaya, other than her appearance in the imaginary shoot out scene, never reappears after kicking Marty out, and we never know if she reconciled with him. Since he's shown still living at Billy's place at the end, it seems unlikely.
Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Marty is particularly disapproving of the fact that Billy killed a woman. This is foreshadowed in the beginning, when one of the two hitmen asks the other if he's nervous about killing a woman.
Your Head Asplode: In Billy's proposed ending, this happens to Charlie. Lampshaded by Hans and Marty.
Hans: A head can't really explode just because it's shot, right? Marty: It can... if it's filled with explosives.