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Seven Psychopaths: an ambitious slice of metafiction

Not as sharp as McDonagh's first outing, In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths is more Pulp Fiction meets Adaptation.

Seven Psychopaths
Director: Martin McDonagh

Starring: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson

Pulp Fiction meets Adaptation in McDonagh’s verbose, violent follow-up to In Bruges. The Irish playwright is back on the same turf as that 2008 mini-masterpiece, just swapping Belgium for Los Angeles and throwing in Hollywood low-lifes for good measure, as he once again dips into the world of trigger-happy hit men and gangsters.

In Bruges’ Farrell plays Marty, a boozy, blocked screenwriter working (or rather not) on a script called “Seven Psychopaths”. But after his friend Billy (Rockwell) dognaps a Shih Tzu from Harrelson’s mobster, events spiral out of control – on the page, in his head and on the screen.

An ambitious slice of metafiction – much of the second-half action is meant to reflect Marty’s script – Seven Psychopaths has moments of brilliance, with Walken’s fellow dognapper on inspired form.

But next to the crisp wordplay of McDonagh’s debut, the criminal chatter feels like white noise: funny but forgettable.

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