Combustible Celluloid
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With: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Tom Waits, Olga Kurylenko, Kevin Corrigan, Gabourey Sidibe, Zeljko Ivanek, Long Nguyen, Christine Marzano, Linda Bright Clay, Brendan Sexton III, Amanda Mason Warren, Harry Dean Stanton, Michael Pitt, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bonny the ShihTzu
Written by: Martin McDonagh
Directed by: Martin McDonagh
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, bloody images, pervasive language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use
Running Time: 109
Date: 09/07/2012

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Writer's Shock

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The acclaimed Irish playwright Martin McDonagh won an Oscar for his short film Six Shooter (2005) and received a screenwriting nomination for his feature debut In Bruges (2008). With the terrific Seven Psychopaths he continues this mixture of crime and dark comedy, but this time he adds a layer of self-awareness, deconstructing both the writing process and the need for conflict (and/or violence) in writing.

Screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) is having trouble with his new screenplay "Seven Psychopaths." He's getting tired of violence in movies and is trying to figure out how to tell the story peacefully. Meanwhile, his best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell) and Billy's associate Hans (Christopher Walken) are running a business kidnapping dogs, returning them, and collecting rewards. Unfortunately, they have kidnapped a beautiful Shih Tzu, Bonny, who belongs to a sadistic gangster (Woody Harrelson). Meanwhile, a masked killer is on the loose, as well as several other psychopaths. Our trio ventures into the desert to try to make sense of it all, but will this trip result in self-discovery, or a bloody showdown?

Miraculously, like Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation (2002), Seven Psychopaths manages to deftly juggle characters, humor, and its lofty ideas without dropping anything or giving anything away too soon. In spite of the movie's immense cleverness, it has a genuine affection for its trio of misfits, and they have a genuine affection for each other. Best of all is not so much McDonagh's one-liners, but rather the conversations between characters, which tend to grow funnier the longer they go on (just listen to the one about "an eye for an eye").

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