Seven Psychopaths

Dir: Martin McDonagh

2012

U

A hugely enjoyable, witty, bloody, foul-mouthed meta-movie about screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) and his friends (played with joyous abandon by Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell) attempting to write a Hollywood film called… yep… Seven Psychopaths.

The rub is Marty only has the title and is suffering from writer’s block. So his friends hit upon the wheeze of advertising for psychos in the local newspaper to come forward and tell their story to Marty.

Of course advertising for psychos to come around your home is probably not a good idea, and so it turns out. Simultaneously, Marty is also going through an internal battle with his artistic muse and is determined to come up with a script about the aforementioned seven psychopaths without resorting to violence or cliché – just as his real life quickly descends into the very thing he rather pompously critiques.

If on paper it sounds like another rather empty self-reflexive conceit about filmmaking itself, it manages to completely transcend this through sparkling dialogue and terrific performances. Carter Burwell’s soundtrack can’t help but remind us of his extensive work for the Coen Brothers and this is a film clearly in love with their world yet unique enough to stand proudly on its own two feet.

Directed by playwright Martin McDonagh, this mirrors his debut In Bruges’ absurdist, Beckett influenced, existential explorations of masculinity with equal brio and wit. It seems likely to echo the unexpected critical and commercial success of In Bruges too.

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