Such is the clout of Martin McDonagh, that after just one previous feature and a short he can command a superb ensemble cast which boasts Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken.
Any one of them is cool. Any two of them make audiences twitch in anticipation. But four? Seven Psychopaths is an unmissable prospect.
It’s not quite as funny as it thinks it is – think Quentin Tarantino when he got cocky – but writer/director McDonagh knows how to ‘big up’ a concept even if the delivery goes awry before the inevitable final showdown.
Colin Farrell is Marty, the scribe struggling with writer’s block who has a vague notion to pen a screenplay about a septet of killers. Eager to help is his pal Billy (Sam Rockwell).
Cue a dizzying succession of real incidents and thoughts given cinematic life as Marty’s world comes crashing down. Surrounded by maniacs (he knows nothing) and friends with secrets, Marty gets all the inspiration he needs to finish his project.
This is a crazed comedy thriller that flows with McDonagh’s trademarks. McDonagh is a master of surreal dialogue and situations, and it leaps off screen and Farrell’s page.
Dognapping, scriptwriting, multiple killers, fact versus fiction. It may be a collection of random jottings – it clings together; sometimes only just – but Seven Psychopaths (the title of Marty’s script) deftly merges fantasy with an increasingly twisted real world. It is not a classic like McDonagh’s In Bruges but it is smart and sassy and laugh-out-loud funny.