Scriptwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) is being hounded by the studio to finish his next screenplay “Seven Psychopaths”. He enlists the help of his friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) a dubious actor/conman. Through Billy’s Dog stealing scam they become entangled with an emotionally unstable gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson).
Warning; if you are repelled by profanity in general and the sight of blood or graphic violence you’d best stay away.
As Marty tries to come up with his seven main characters we are presented with a surreal mixture of the screenwriter’s world and the ‘reality’ of the script he is trying to write.
It is not the first time screenwriters have been used as main characters (Barton Fink and Adaptation spring to mind) and to drive that point home even deeper you may have noticed that the title and main character first name are the same in reality as they are in the film.
While the characters are all quite stereotypical; a drunken Irish writer, a frustrated actor, a psychotic mobster and mix this with a familiar plot, well, the film could have turned out badly but because of a snappy (often hilarious) script and timely delivery it works very well.
Some scenes are almost like a ‘class’ in overcoming writer’s block. You can easily imagine chunks of the dialogue happening between a writer and an editor/producer. Anybody who has tried to write a screenplay will understand Marty’s frustrations.
Colin Farrell gives us a very relaxed performance. The more I see Sam Rockwell in different roles the more I want to meet him, he is the real star of this film, pathetic, dangerous and charismatic all at once. While Christopher Walken ambles through the film with his usual professionalism. Tom Waits provides us with a wonderful cameo and Woody Harrelson notches up yet another scary psycho to his growing list.
Director Martin McDonagh’s background in the Theatre still shines through as the film dialogue heavy but again the actors seem so at home with the script you forgive a few stretched of the imagination.
From behind the camera McDonagh’s style comes across like a neat mixture of Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch. Also, there is such a nod to “Taxi Driver” you could imagine MaDonagh came away with crick in his neck.
If you like dark and murder filled comedies, I recommend you watch this.