The muse has abandoned Marty (Colin Farrell), an LA screenwriter with a major drinking problem and only a title (“Seven Psychopaths”) for his latest opus. Fortunately, he’s friends with Billy (Sam Rockwell) and Hans (Christopher Walken), two nutcases who steal dogs for a living, and who also have some bloodletting tendencies that may just give Marty the inspirational push he needs. That’s two psychopaths for you, and there are plenty more where they came from.
This violent, vicious, frequently hilarious second feature from In Bruges’s Martin McDonagh is sure to be pegged as a Tarantino knockoff for its self-aware brutality and profanely verbose characters; guest stars Michael Stuhlbarg and Michael Pitt start us off with a gut-bustingly vulgar discussion beneath the Hollywood sign that climaxes with metallic slugs to the head. At worst, the film earns our dismissive scorn for its knowingly smug treatment of buxom bullet-bait played by Olga Kurylenko and Abbie Cornish. Yet there’s also a uniquely affecting spiritual component to McDonagh’s work, something he explores here via two sublimely ridiculous stories-within-the-story about a razor-wielding Quaker and a vengeful Vietnamese monk. It likewise helps that the writer-director has assembled such a stellar cast that paves over most of the rough patches. Walken is particularly alive in a way he’s rarely been since Catch Me if You Can, adding untold shades to Hans’s mystery-shrouded past – wait until you see what’s under his cravat – while still giving his singularly eccentric line readings (“Fuck tha cops!… Fuck ’em!”).