Set in Hollywood, California, the central character, Marty (Colin Farrell), wants to write a screenplay, but can’t get beyond the title “Seven Psychopaths” and the setting “Exterior: Los Angeles.” A barely functioning alcoholic, he’s peaceful and non-violent, yet surrounds himself with a hostile girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) and his two best friends, Billy (Sam Rockwell) and Hans (Christopher Walken), who support themselves with a thriving criminal business. These thieves routinely steal the dogs of wealthy owners then politely return then a few days later to collect a reward.
After beginning with the murder of two hired gunmen by the mysterious Jack of Diamonds serial killer, the film launches into the tale of Marty as he struggles to write his screenplay. Billy and Hans offer to help Marty with character development and story ideas, which he accepts out of desperation. Meanwhile, local gangster, Charlie (Woody Harrelson) goes on a rampage when he discovers his beloved Shih Tzu has been taken by the thieves. That’s when things really get violent. Blood and profanity flow freely throughout the movie, which also boasts some clever screenwriting and creative storytelling, such as a shifting basis of reality.
Seven Psychopaths is Absurdist Fun
The bizarre contradictions involve the many multi-dimensional characters. The film presents serial killers who love each other, serial killers who love their pets, serial killers who love their friends, and serial killers devoted to perfecting their craft. And, of course, there’s gun-hating Marty who dreams of writing a movie about seven psychopaths that’s focused on love, not hate or violence. As the story progresses, it takes on some of the characteristics of Marty’s screenplay so that reality, illusion, imagination, and deception become a jumbled mess of absurdist fun.
Throughout the throat-slitting, shot-to-the-back-of-the-head scenes of violence, production values excel in every aspect, and top-name talent appears in major and minor roles. This entertaining, though apparently meaningless, crime spoof should delight those seeking style over substance as they spend nearly two frantic hours with an assortment of weirdos, criminals, and psychopaths.
- A struggling screenwriter with criminal friends becomes accidentally involved in a series of murders that turns into an eventual showdown in the desert.
- Starring Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Waits, Harry Dean Stanton
- Director: Martin McDonagh
- Genre: Crime Comedy
- Run Time: 109 minutes
- MPAA Rating: R (for strong violence, bloody images, pervasive language, sexuality/nudity, and some drug use)