This is my third year attending TIFF, and (as you know) the first time I’ve been able to completely clear my schedule to attend movies for every day of it. Which made it especially disappointing when I wasn’t able to get tickets to the first showing of Seven Psychopaths. Without it I had no movie for the first full day of TIFF, and even though I have 13 other films lined up it felt like a defeat. Worse still it’s the only Midnight Madness film that works with my schedule, and having never been to one before I really wanted to attend. And finally there was the small matter of it being a Premium showing and that Colin Farrell would definitely be there. So you could say I was motivated yesterday morning to get up for the 7am release of tickets and then, when that failed, to wait another hour to get through to the box office by phone. And when I got the tickets the sense of satisfaction of exquisite. An already great day was made so much better: I spent the day attending gifting lounges, and in the evening I headed to Ryerson for the film.
We had a great place in the lineup and when we filed into the theatre we got great seats. Colin Geddes was there of course to present, and after bringing the cast out on stage to say hi, Seven Psychopaths began.
It’s from the same director, Martin McDonagh, as the wildly amazing In Bruges, and Colin Farrell is the star again. Clearly they have an amazing working relationship. Colin’s screenwriter Marty manages to come across as a completely different fellow than the crazy Ray from In Bruges. An alcoholic screenwriter with a dying relationship and writer’s block is simultaneously assisted and distracted by his best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell). Billy is frenetic and air-headed, while also showing deep love for Marty and wanting nothing but the best for him. Marty has begun a screenplay called “Seven Psychopaths” but is stuck for the plot, and the psychopaths themselves. Shades of Adaptation to be sure, but this film works hard to be its own beast. As characters are introduced they are each wilder than the last. A masked assassin is taking out members of the mob; the male half (Tom Waits) of a Dexter-style murder duo is looking for his lost love; Christopher Walken, etc. Woodey Harrelson is *the* psychopath and when his dog is kidnapped by Billy for a ransom he goes on a rampage that is off the chain.
Seven Psychopaths is gory, hilarious, mean-spirited and charming. As Colin Farrell reminded us at the Q&A, its true message is one of love and peace. Marty is a pacifist and as the chaos and body-count mount around him he clings to those ideals to an almost suicidal degree. Billy on the other hand is so enamored by violence that when we are finally given a glimpse into his subconscious it is adorably creepy. Christopher Walken plays one of the most touching roles I’ve ever seen from him, and is utterly captivating. Sam Rockwell is so amazing it’s hard to put into words. I could re-watch just his scenes alone and love it all.
I am so grateful to the good fortune that allowed me to attend the show. The cast was very gracious during the Q&A and while the questions were fairly pedestrian they did their best to give genuine and interesting answers. Apparently Billy’s animal hat (featured image) was a gift from Colin to Sam during filming and it made it into the film. One thing I am still puzzled by: during one scene I swear to god Crispen Glover makes a cameo. There is no dialogue, he’s merely in the background gesticulating wildly, but I know my Crispen Glover. But when asked about it by an audience member, McDonagh took a long pause before denying it was him. Curious.
I am looking forward to when Seven psychopaths comes out on DVD. I am really looking forward to a re-watch already, and can’t help but hope for some great DVD commentary. It sounds like they had a lot of fun during the shoot, and I want more stories.
For more photos of the Seven Psychopaths cast please visit my Flickr page.