My number 4 film of the year could only take place in Los Angeles, because this dark comedy/crime movie centers around high-end dog kidnapping and screenwriting.
4. "Seven Psychopaths" - In this wildly elaborate dark comedy from Martin McDonagh, a dog kidnapper, Billy (Sam Rockwell), involves his best friend, a laid-back L.A. screenwriter named Marty (Colin Farrell), in a cloudy mess of a reprehensible profession.
You see, Billy kidnaps an adorable Shih Tzu, who just happens to belong to Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a vicious crime boss.
With a much obsessive love for his dog, Charlie targets Billy, Marty and Billy's business partner, Hans (Christopher Walken) as the sole focus of his duress and ire.
Outside Billy's and Hans's choice of work, the movie might sound like a routine mobster-chasing-down-less-nefarious-criminals picture, but this picture is anything but ordinary.
With McDonagh's dense and extremely clever writing and the hilarious performances by the leads and supporting cast, this film is terrific mix of misdirection and zigzags, along with piles of laughs and graphic violence.
Quite frankly, I have not seen a similar combination work this well in cinema since "Pulp Fiction" (1994).
Misdirection isn't an overarching theme, but it makes its presence known due to Marty.
As a screenwriter, he's "on deadline" to write a movie script, and his latest brainchild is titled, "Seven Psychopaths."
Early on, it's difficult to know whether we are watching the script play out from Marty's (or McDonagh's) mind on screen, but after a while, we catch our balance.
Billy tries - with the hope of a co-writing credit (of course) - to help scribe Marty's new tale, but there's an obvious problem: Billy unknowingly suffers from a severe case of arrested development, and in most cases isn't a help at all.
Then again, Billy seems as off-center as Dennis Rodman at a Republican Convention, so he could possess some insight into the psychopath community.
Rockwell is extremely good and is perfectly cast as Billy. He mouths off about Marty's passive-aggressive girlfriend (Abbie Cornish), mentions in passing how he stared at a flagpole for 11 hours and claims to have a girlfriend, but won't let Marty meet her for his own protection.
Farrell's Marty does not even try to make sense of it all, and with his alcoholism issues, he lets the insanity ride.
Harrelson, Walken and Tom Waits also add plenty of color and life with about 1,000 cherished moments of depravity, humor and the stylish use of the English language only L.A. criminals could muster.
"Seven Psychopaths" is the type of movie which kids shouldn't see, but teenagers probably gleefully recounted the sorted tales in their lunchroom cafeterias, and adults told similar stories at their local water coolers too.
Me? Well, (I've found similar aforementioned water coolers and) I'm conveying my admiration for this picture in this review as my # 4 film of 2012.
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