Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Martin Mcdonagh’s follow up to the acclaimed In Bruges certainly has its work cut out to live up to its predecessor but for the most part it lives up to the hype.

Seven Psychopaths centres around Martin (Colin Farrell), a struggling screenwriter as he attempts to write a script for a film aptly named Seven Psychopaths. Whilst writing the script his friend Billy (Sam Rockwell)’s dog-napping business lands them in trouble with a big time gangster (Woody Harrelson) and things start to spiral out of control. The shared title of Martin’s script with the film is no coincidence. We are in meta-film territory here, characters in his script end up becoming involved in the narrative of the film and it’s a lot of fun trying to second guess which character will be which of the titular psychopaths.

Mention has to be made of the fantastic ensemble cast on display here, everyone is on top of their game and the script is more than a match for the talent involved. Standout performances are difficult to pick but the chemistry between Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken really shines and Tom Waits quite possibly puts in a career best as ‘the one with the bunny’.

The film is littered with extremely violent scenes but these are played out mainly to comic effect and work well within the context of the film. Without giving anything away the film also attempts to pass comment on violence within film and makes an interesting and frankly highly amusing point towards the end.

If the film has any problems it’s that there is a distinct lack of narrative – the film is based around a struggling script coming together so this is understandable. A downside to having so many characters on screen rears its head here as well, a lot of storylines start but are never finished as a new character suddenly takes centre stage. This means that whilst being fantastically watchable, the film never quite engages you fully, which is a shame because had it done so, we would have a true classic on our hands here.

Even if the film doesn’t quite deliver on its promise, it still delivers the goods as a brilliant and clever piece of entertainment that should not be missed.

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