• James Rutherford

'Seven Psychopaths': A Bold, Sardonic Dark Comedy About A Screenwriter Enmeshed in the LA Underworld


Movie poster for the film Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Seven Psychopaths (2012) is a playful and occasionally jarring dark comedy starring Colin Farrell as Marty, a struggling LA-based writer intent on completing his screenplay entitled "Seven Psychopaths". Marty gets pulled into a tangled mess after his friends Billy (Sam Rockwell) and Hans (Christopher Walken) steal a small Shih Tzu named Bonny from Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson), a volatile mob boss.


Making their living kidnapping dogs and cashing in on the owners' subsequent ransom rewards, Billy and Hans inadvertently incur Costello's fervent wrath with Bonny's abduction—Costello and Billy both connected romantically to an alluring Ukrainian vixen named Angela (Olga Kurylenko). Meanwhile Billy attempts to assist Marty with his screenplay by inviting real-life psychopaths to contact them through the newspaper with stories of murder as inspiration for Marty's characters. This act draws the attention of several foreboding killers—the ultimate convergence of all parties playing out as an exaggerated display of comedic interplay and mortal reckoning.


Written and directed by British playwright/filmmaker Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Seven Psychopaths is an off-kilter escapade highlighted by McDonough's sharp dialogue and idiosyncratic characterizations. The extended ensemble appears to be having an absolute blast embodying McDonagh's various eccentrics, with Farrell balancing the storyline out as the level-headed Marty at the center of the histrionics. Bold, twistedly enjoyable and refreshingly innovative, it's a grade-A sleeper film ripe for discovery.

 

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