2012 Toronto Film Festival – DAY ONE.Part 2

September 12, 2012
By

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Martin McDonagh’s work. I love his dark, twisted comedies, particularly his Inishman plays. His short “Six Shooter” well deserved it’s Oscar and “In Bruges” is wickedly funny yet poignantly tragic. Ralph Fiennes’ performance aside, I have tremendous respect for what McDonagh pulled off. So, to say that my expectations were probably a bit too high for SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is a given.

Unfortunately, Those expectations were not met. Not even close.

It’s not that SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS is bad. It’s not. But it is a mess. McDonagh has always relied on storytelling within stories to spin a yarn. Here, however, the narrative is so loose and unwieldy that there’s no dramatic build. Maybe it was McDonagh’s choice to leave Ireland for Hollywood as his setting. Or maybe it’s that he’s juggling too many characters… Ie. stars. Whatever the reason, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS plays very much like one of those Quentin Tarantino knock offs from the 90s. You know, “2 Days In The Valley” or “Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead.”

Maybe it’s the super group conundrum. When major rock icons get together to form a super rock band the results are often underwhelming. I suspect something similar happens when you put together a too good to be true cast.

So, what’s good? Mainly Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell, who keep us engaged even when the movie goes completely off the rails. Woody Harrelson and Colin Farrell are fine and Tom Waits is always a welcome addition to any project, but SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS never fully gels.

Leaving the theater I found myself beside Roger Ebert. I wanted to mention to him how we were fellow Illini and how he made me aware that film critics even existed.. But watching him awkwardly shuffle toward his car gave me  pause. I didn’t want to disturb him. Some day I’ll write a piece on why he still, to this day, inspires me with his humanistic approach to film criticism…. And why I think his damn “thumbs up/ thumbs down” legacy lead to the dumbing down of criticism.

Day One finished with a midnight showing of DREDD. The movie got started 90 painful minutes late because Kristen Stewart was there for the ON THE ROAD premiere at the same theater and the twi-hards were out in force.

It wasn’t worth the wait.

While much better than Stallone’s JUDGE DREDD, this was a pretty mediocre flick that basically borrows The Raid’s storyline but sets it in the future. It’s serviceable but pointless and the 3D is, as expected, fairly underwhelming. Forgiving fans will dig it for everyone else it’s little more than a mediocre time waster.