Let's get one thing straight: You will see Seven Psychopaths. Either my words will entice you to see this pedal-to-the-metal, ball-buster of a film when it opens Friday, Oct. 12, or you'll finally get around to watching it many months (or even years) from now, at which time you'll say to someone: "Heavens to Betsy, that was swell," or something to that effect.
An important caveat: Seven Psychopaths is as funny as it is violent. Featuring a provocative title, a cast to die for (there's plenty of dying) and the funniest script of 2012, Seven Psychopaths rockets to the year's Top 10 list.
So, let's count the reasons you should shell out cash to see this kill-fest, shall we?
No. 7: There are far more than seven certified nut jobs on the loose here, but this all-star cast begins with Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Harry Dean Stanton and Gabourey Sidibe.
No. 6: Self-aware but never selfish, this movie pays homage to filmdom's elite, with more than a few tips of the fedora to Martin Scorsese. Farrell plays screenwriter Marty, whose best friend and would-be collaborator is named Billy Bickle (Rockwell). Rockwell even has a quick "You talkin' to me?" moment, not unlike Scorsese's Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. Additionally, Michael Pitt and Michael Stuhlbarg (both from Scorsese's Boardwalk Empire) have a fun scene in the film's early moments as hired guns deconstructing the art of the kill before being killed themselves by a lucha libre-masked hit man. In an irreverent touch, the scene is played out in the shadow of the Hollywood sign.
No. 5: No one in this movie wears a cape or has any super powers.
No. 4: Waits plays a bunny-loving, cross country-traveling executioner who serially kills other serial killers.
No. 3: Cinematographer Ben Davis (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) dials down the contrast and cranks up the tint, painting Los Angeles with a color-saturated palette to match the story's almost cartoonish feel.
No. 2: The film has a wonderfully warped affection for pets. The anti-heroes operate a low-scale dognapping scam that quickly erupts into high-scale complication when they swipe the pooch of an insane gangster (Harrelson at his scenery-chewing best). The gangster doesn't blink at blood (and the body count is staggering) but he goes soft in the knees when it comes to his shih tzu. The bizarre mix of sweetness and carnage is enough to keep audiences extremely entertained.
No. 1: Martin McDonagh. McDonagh has two legions of fans: those who discovered his brilliant screenwriting and directing in 2008's In Bruges, and theater-goers on both sides of the Atlantic who have cheered McDonagh's award-winning plays, including The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Pillowman and A Behanding in Spokane (which starred Rockwell and Walken). Already considered by many to be Ireland's best contemporary playwright, McDonagh can stake a claim as one of Hollywood's freshest voices. He never drowns his audiences in artistic indulgences, but rather is truest to his characters, writing razor-sharp dialogue, almost always requiring expert pacing. Farrell, Harrelson, Rockwell and Walken are all at the top of their game here.