Directed by: Martin McDonagh. This post and the last, Killing Them Softly, must begin with a disclaimer that they occur to you now as evidence of a time warp, of a tear in the fabric of logic and causality. I could have SWORE that I wrote reviews for each of these movies at the time I saw them, around the last week of October/first week of November 2013. I could have fucking swore that I already wrote down some initial fleeting impressions on each of these films and published a review of each. But I sit here now, in the future, in January 2014, looking back at my year, and these two films are missing. They are not on the site, nor on my back-end in draft form anywhere, and so I’ve had to re-write all of these ideas and insert them arbitrarily into a place where I think they fit in the time frame of when they were actually viewed. And I can’t tell you how fucking intolerable this is to me—I think this whole blog is a manifestation of some of my more fastidious, unhealthy, neurotic impulses for order and organization and chronological entry-making. Fume fume fume. Okay.
So this movie is by the McDonagh brothers who (unlike the Coen brothers) work separately and I’m sure would be equally frustrated by being referred to collectively rather than as two completely different snowflakes—I mean filmmakers—with totally unique sensibilities. The short version is that this movie, Martin McDonagh’s second movie, isn’t as good as Martin McDonagh’s first movie, In Bruges, nor his brother John Michael McDonagh’s first movie, The Guard. Both of those movies were really compact, quaint, bizarre, mildly dysfunctional but overall pretty entertaining dark comedies with (collectively) a fairly unique film voice. This one, on the other hand, seems to have gained more of the scrambled disorganization and lost some of the magic charm inherent in just the right balance in the other two films. Maybe this is just me—I’m fine with that—but this movie to me was just that extra bit more dysfunctional than the other two, and it made the difference between a quirky, kind of stupid, but overall pretty likable film and a quirky, pretty definitely stupid, pointless film full of cartoonish characters you don’t care about and a really unfocused and poorly written script that tries to account for being poorly written by writing the fact that it’s poorly written into itself as a postmodern film-about-films motif (and those are ALWAYS really charming and not stupid at all). All of this is a shame, because on paper, I thought this might be a cool little movie. I think this movie lured a lot of people in with the cast: “Chris Walken and Tom Waits in the same movie? And it’s a movie by the In Bruges guy? This might be really cool, I should watch this!” So, at the risk of sacrificing a really nuanced appreciation of this film if I had written the review immediately after viewing, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is just not a very good movie to see. If you’re not a fan of the other two movies, this will probably just come off as a really bizarre, unfunny, stupid movie, and if you are a fan of those other movies, you might be tempted like I was to go along with everything for awhile in the hopes that it will go somewhere. But if I were you, I would just go watch something else instead. If you want Chris Walken and Tom Waits at the same time, I suggest watching The Deer Hunter with Swordfishtrombone on top.