Seven Psychopaths

Dir: Martin McDonagh

Stars: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walker, Sam Rockwell & Tom Waits.

Martin McDonagh’s directorial debut, In Bruges, turned out to be one of the best and most innovative films of 2008. However, the controversial award winning Irish playwright wrote Seven Psychopaths first, but decided it may not be the easiest way to begin his career in Hollywood. He could well have a point there.

Marty (Farrell) is a Hollywood screenwriter struggling both with drink and trying to write his next script, Seven Psychopaths. His best friend Billy (Rodwell) is an unemployed actor who makes his money through a dognapping concern he operates with Hans (Walken). When they accidentally steal Mafia boss Charlie’s (Harrelson) Shih Tzu, things start to go south, and Marty’s scenarios begin to come dangerously close to real life.

Don’t be fooled by the trailer for Seven Psychopaths, it is much more of a darker postmodernist film than a ensemble comedy. McDonagh’s film owes a lot to the earlier works of Tarantino with liberal smatterings of Charlie Kauffman postmodernism missed in. This becomes more apparent as the film reaches its climax (or does it?).

The more I think about Seven Psychopaths, the less sure I am about precisely what’s going on. On one level you have a straight stylised snappy dialogue-laden bloodfest which would make Quentin proud. On another, you have a clever post modern fantasy/dream which manifests as a film within a film. It’s cleverly done, with the film being written in front of your eyes.

McDonagh takes a huge swipe at the ethos of Hollywood film-making; much of which comes from personal experience. As Billy says, “there will be no animals harmed in this movie, just women.” – a direct dig at censorship he’s personally had to deal with in the course of his career. Seven Psychopaths it smart, stylish, sassy and dark; filled with bright performances from the impressive cast.

The image of Tom Waits stroking a rabbit will forever haunt me.

Screening times