Martin McDonagh Returns! The Trailer for Seven Psychopaths Starring Christopher Walken

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 15 2012 2:55 PM

Trailer Critic: Seven Psychopaths

Christopher Walken in Seven Psychopaths
Christopher Walken plays Hans, "the non-violent one," in Seven Psychopaths.

Still from the trailer for Seven Pscyopaths.

Why do trailers make Martin McDonagh’s movies look a little dumb? If you only saw the trailer for his great black comedy In Bruges, you could be forgiven for skipping it, but that would be a shame. While it was depicted as a broad buddy comedy complete with dwarf jokes and gratuitous ass shots, the final film was actually a fresh, witty meditation on guilt and mortality (with a nuanced performance from Jordan Prentice).

So while the trailer for his second feature, Seven Psychopaths, seems determined to sell it as the latest Guy Ritchie rip-off—complete with a quirky cast of criminals, casual sexism, and titles out of SnatchI have faith that it will be quite a bit more than that.

Not that this three-minute look at the dog-kidnapping flick is without its highlights. Foremost is the great cast, which includes Colin Farrell (who won a Golden Globe for In Bruges), Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Bright Star’s Abbie Cornish, and Woody Harrelson (who’s on a roll lately). The seventh psychopath is promisingly played by the always odd Tom Waits. (Ignore the pandering introduction of the fourth psychopath, who’s listed only as “The hot girlfriend, played by a Bond girl,” i.e., Olga Kurylenko.)

The combination of that cast and McDonagh’s dialogue—the director made his name writing acclaimed plays like The Pillowman—sounds dynamite, and there are indeed sparkling exchanges here. Best of all is the overly literal dissection of the old adage “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” The off-beat exchange between Walken and character actor Zeljko Ivanek also shines. These brief glimpses are just enough to keep me hungry for the final, presumably sharper, film.

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Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. Email him at Forrest.Wickman@slate.com.