12/05/2012 10:23 | By Neil Smith, contributor, MSN Movies

Seven Psychopaths review

Madness, murder and dognapping are the quirky ingredients of the latest pitch-black comedy from the star and writer-director of In Bruges.

7 Psychopaths (© Momentum)

Release date: 5 December 2012
Certificate: 15
Director: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken

What’s the story?
A boozy screenwriter starved of inspiration (Farrell) finds some with the help of two buddies who kidnap dogs for a living and the psychopathic gangster whose Shih Tzu they’ve abducted.

What did we think?
Drenched with blood, packed with ideas and peppered with great one-liners, this dark caper lacks the coherence of the superior In Bruges but makes up for it with vim, brio and a madcap, reckless energy. Rockwell and Walken give performances to savour as loose cannon Billy and old-timer Hans respectively.

Writers unsure what to write about next often dramatise the act of writing itself: think the Coen brothers’ Barton Fink for example, or Stephen King’s Misery. Four years on from hitman comedy In Bruges, Martin McDonagh has opted for a bit of navel-gazing himself by shaping a film about a screenwriter trying to complete a script called – you guessed it – Seven Psychopaths.

That’s seven too many for struggling scribe Marty (Farrell), whose writer’s block and love of liquor has driven a wedge between him and his long-suffering girlfriend Kaya (Abbie Cornish). When his best friend Billy (Rockwell) steals the beloved pooch of a deranged mobster (Woody Harrelson), however, Marty soon finds himself with more psychos than he can handle – and even more after Billy puts an ad in the paper telling nutjobs to get in touch.

Some might find McDonagh’s musings on his profession a little on the precious side, while there’s something cynical about the manner he slams Hollywood for its graphic violence and subordination of women while perpetuating the very clichés he claims to deplore.

But the Tarantino-style dialogue practically sizzles, while Rockwell knocks it out of the park as an actor cum dog thief cum certifiable headcase.

4 stars

Verdict: A killer combination.

7 Psychopaths quiz: We pitch Colin Farrell and Martin McDonagh against each other

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