Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits
Director: Martin McDonagh
“A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu”(IMDb).
»Currently streaming on Amazon Prime«
What to Expect
Colin Farrell’s eyebrows
Fewer than seven psychopaths
Why You Should Watch It
There’s just enough violence and drama in this movie to balance out the utter silliness of its premise and characters, making it delightfully fun. Farrell, Rockwell, and Walken all compliment the personalities of each other’s characters, and the audience is pulled along as they try to guess who will be named the next psychopath.
Must See! (A)
The chyrons define the seven psychopaths throughout the movie as follows:
- Jack of Diamonds
- The Quaker [who ends up being Hans (Walken)]
- Charlie (Harrelson)
- Buddhist Monk
- Zachariah (Waits)
- Zachariah’s wife, Maggie
- Billy [(Rockwell) who ends up being the Jack of Diamonds]
Right off the bat you’re probably thinking, “But if Billy and the Jack of Diamonds are the same, that’s only six psychopaths.” And you are correct, fair reader. Which can mean one of two things: that McDonagh doesn’t care what you think because unveiling Billy as the serial killer was worth the misdirection, or that there is another psychopath left unnamed. Farrell’s character, Marty, would be the obvious first choice as the final psychopath. He remains the hapless protagonist caught up in all the other psychopaths’ drama. You’d have to be one yourself to associate with all of them, or become one, as the film’s final scene suggests. However, Hans’ wife, Myra, could be considered the seventh as well, since it was revealed that she was with Hans as he followed their daughter’s killer around for years.
The irony of the list, though, is that only one character could be considered a true psychopath: Billy. Zachariah and Maggie may be perpetuating the stereotype that all serial killers belong in that category, and Hans’ lack of emotional affect certainly hints at a personality disorder, but psychopathy, according to this fascinating interview, is a combination of interpersonal, affective, lifestyle, and antisocial traits. Billy is the only one who appears to check all the boxes. He’s impulsive, a narcissistic liar, shows no remorse for his actions, kills people, and kidnaps dogs. Charlie Costello comes in close second, as he’s manipulative, callous, and a criminal. But I rule him out because he’s more emotional than Billy, and not as reckless.
One odd thing about the list is how the Buddhist monk is the only fictional psychopath. Is he a metaphor for Marty immolating his personality by the end of the film? Was he thrown in to give it a more beautiful ending? Is he not truly considered fictional because he ends up being based on the real Thích Quảng Đức? Either way, the final iteration of the monk is an unexpectedly powerful scene that still manages to maintain the movie’s tone with Walken humorously narrating it.