A well known device for allegories and merging realities, films within films create more detailed, sometimes humorous, and often better story lines. In Seven Psychopaths, Colin Farrell’s Marty is a writer attempting to put together a successful screenplay, all the while being dragged into an elaborate dog-napping scheme. Marty bases his film on the people he meets and the stories he hears throughout this action packed adventure. Here we take a look at other films within films and their effect on the plot of the film as a whole.
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Featuring multiple mini-films, Tropic Thunder is a perfect example of films within a film being used as a comic plot device. The main plot of Tropic Thunder is based around a dramatic group of mediocre actors who are making a fictional Vietnam War film. Realizing the group cannot be controlled, the frustrated director decides to drop them in the middle of a jungle to force them to use their acting skills in real situations. Little does he know they are actually dropped in the middle of a heroin-producing gang’s territory, forcing the actors to deal with the dangers of a drug war. A hilarious action comedy with a great group of actors, Tropic Thunder exemplifies the strengths that come with creating a film within a film.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1590-1596)
Another take on the sub-layering of plots is Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This serious play-within-a-play is a world renowned work and has three interlocking plots. A complicated comedy involving the fairy King, Oberon, and fairy queen, Titania, intervening in young Athenian’s love, a marriage between King Theseus and future Queen Hippolyta, and a group of craftsmen rehearsing a play to perform at the wedding. A timeless masterpiece by Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been performed repeatedly over the years and has had many different adaptations into film, musicals, and modern day plots.
My Week With Marilyn (2011)
Based on the true story of Marilyn Monroe’s week spent in London filming the 1957 picture The Prince and the Showgirl. My Week with Marilyn focuses on the time Monroe (Michelle Wiliams) spent being escorted around the city by Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), one of the film’s production assistants, after Monroe’s husband had left the country. An amazing look into the life, struggles and drama of Marilyn, My Week with Marilyn shows the infatuation that devoured Clark, and delivers a heart wrenching yet beautiful film.
Super 8 (2011)
J.J. Abrams’ science fiction thriller, produced by Steven Spielberg, tells the story of a group of young teenagers filming their own Super 8 Zombie movie to be entered in a film competition. While filming, they witness a government train derail, releasing an unknown dangerous presence into the town. During the destruction of the town while government officials intervene, the kids continue to shoot their masterpiece until things get a little too real.
The Truman Show (1998)
The comedy drama The Truman Show showcases the life of a man living in a constructed reality television show his entire life. Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) is initially unaware his life is being broadcast around the clock to billions of people across the world, but starts to become suspicious around the 30th year of “The Truman Show”. Picking up on the similarities of daily life and other odd happenings on the set that is his world, he attempts to embark on a quest to discover the truth.
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
Struggling screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) is busy coping with writer’s block by drinking heavily and laying around with his girlfriend. All of this changes when he is suddenly thrown into an elaborate dog-napping-gone-wrong scheme. He then begins to base his screenplay off the people he meets, the stories he hears and the events going on around him throughout this hilarious adventure.
Discover the film within SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, released 5 December 2012 in the UK.