Colin Farrell plays a boozy Hollywood screenwriter whose latest project has left him with writer’s block.

Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (Bafta-winner for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Oscar-nominated for his debut In Bruges), this is a gleefully dark comedy thriller featuring gabby killers, wickedly funny dialogue and moments of shocking violence.

Farrell has a title, Seven Psychopaths, for his latest work, but he doesn’t have a plot, or even the requisite number of psychopaths. Besides, he’d rather write about love, peace and Gandhi than pen yet another crime film about guys and guns.

How to resolve this conundrum is currently beyond him, but his feckless actor pal (Sam Rockwell) is only too happy to help and places a newspaper ad to drum up stories from psychos. Even more dismayingly, he also draws his friend into the orbit of a genuinely psychopathic LA gangster (Woody Harrelson) by dognapping the crook’s beloved shih tzu as part of the scam he runs with a dapper con-man (Christopher Walken).

Before long, Farrell’s prime concern isn’t lack of inspiration, but how to stay alive…

The convoluted plot coils around and around until we’re not quite sure what is real and what is fantasy. Is Harry Dean Stanton’s remorseless Quaker avenger a figment of the imagination, and what about Tom Waits’ bunny-cuddling serial killer of serial killers?

McDonagh’s whip-smart movie is almost too clever by half, but he writes such cracking dialogue that it really is a treat to watch.