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1st Dec 2012 6:31pm | By Alasdair Morton
How do you follow up a Bafta best original screenplay winner, especially when it was Martin McDonagh’s caustically funny thriller In Bruges?
By taking it up a level and decamping from a small European town to Hollywood, that’s how.
Martin takes the small cast/constrained setting of his Oscar-nominated predecessor, in which two hitmen hide out in the beautiful town waiting for a job gone wrong to blow over, and expands, with more characters and the wacky world of the movies as their backdrop.
Farrell is Marty, a boozy screenwriter struggling to write his script Seven Psychopaths.
His slightly untethered pal Billy (Rockwell) then kidnaps the dog of a gangster (Harrelson), plunging them into a crazy, convoluted world of the title’s mad men, movie cliches and overcoming writer’s block.
It’s a part post-modern, part meta-textual crime-dramedy-action-satire, if you follow, as McDonagh toys with what’s real, what’s fictional and what is lodged somewhere in the blurred boundary between these two.
While endlessly playful, it’s unfocused – the film flits between the seven psychos’ stories and its own arching narrative.
McDonagh teases Hollywood’s foibles, but with only varying success – the final shoot ‘em up action showdown is torn up a treat, but poorly written female roles are acknowledged yet hardly addressed.
His boy’s own story does have some brilliant performances – Harrelson’s as a Shih Tzu-loving gangster and Christopher Walken as a threatening yet moralistic nutjob – and is haphazardly and gleefully unpredictable. Flawed but fun.
Good for: Seeing the rule book torn up and thrown out the window
Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson | 15 | 109mins