Seven Psychopaths, writer-director Martin McDonagh’s follow-up to his Oscar-nominated debut In Bruges is another gleefully dark comedy thriller featuring gabby killers, wickedly funny dialogue and moments of shocking violence.

Colin Farrell’s Martin (note the name) is a boozy Hollywood screenwriter whose latest project has left him blocked. He has a title, Seven Psychopaths, but he doesn’t have a plot, or the requisite number of psychopaths. Besides, he doesn’t want to pen yet another crime film about guys and guns; he’d rather write about love and peace and Gandhi.

How to resolve this conundrum is currently beyond him, but his feckless actor buddy Billy (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 genuinely psychopathic LA gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson) by dognapping the crook’s beloved shih tzu as part of the scam he runs with dapper con-man Hans (Christopher Walken). Before long, Martin’s prime concern isn’t lack of inspiration but how to stay alive…

Seven Psychopaths - Colin Farrell & Woody Harrelson

Deconstructing the conventions of Hollywood screen violence as it goes along, McDonagh’s whip-smart movie is almost too clever by half. The convoluted plot coils around and around until neither we, nor Martin, can be quite sure what is real and what is febrile fantasy.

Is Harry Dean Stanton’s remorseless Quaker avenger a figment of the imagination? What about Tom Waits’ bunny-cuddling serial killer of serial killers?

It’s enough to frazzle the brain. But McDonagh performs his narrative tricks so dazzlingly and writes such cracking dialogue for his actors that as the story heads in a roundabout way to a desert showdown, strewing corpses in its wake, the biggest shock is that McDonagh really does pull it off.

Released on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download by Momentum Pictures on Monday 15th April.

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