LFF Review: Seven Psychopaths

I really loved Martin McDonagh’s last film In Bruges, so it was a no-brainer picking, his follow-up, Seven Psychopaths on my must-see list for this year’s London Film Festival. I hadn’t watched any trailers for it, or read about the plot, so I had no expectations whatsoever – which I’m starting to think is the best policy these days, with most trailers giving away almost all the plot (I’ve just had a look at the trailer now, and it doesn’t give anything away…so you’re safe this time). Trailers can also raise your expectations so high that once you’ve seen the film you can often feel disappointed, as I experienced with Prometheus.

Marty (Colin Farrell) is an alcoholic writer, struggling to finish his screenplay called “Seven Psychopaths”. His best buddy is Billy (Sam Rockwell), an out of work actor and moonlighting dog thief, who tries to help him out any which way he can. Constantly telling him he drinks too much and trying to get him to focus on his writing. Acting like Marty’s one man cheering squad. Billy’s dog thief, partner in crime, is Hans (Christopher Walken), a man who’s exterior representation seems gentle and calm, but hides a dark past. The pair accidentally kidnap gangster Charlie’s (Woody Harrelson) beloved Shitzu, and all hell breaks loose. Giving Marty enough material on Psychopaths to last a lifetime….that is, if he can survive long enough to finish his script. The best thing I can add to that brief plot summary is that you wont know where you’re heading, as the film progresses. And that is refreshing.

But just like In Bruges, the plot of the film, is not the most compelling part. It’s the relationships. The friendship between the three men, the love of an owner and his pet shitzu, a husband and wife or a Psychopath and his victim. The other characteristic, brought forward from In Bruges, is the dark humour. There’s plenty of it, although the film probably appealed to the wannabe writers seated in the press screening, which explains why there was almost constant laughter throughout. It’s probably one of the few films I’ve seen at a cinema where everyone seemed to be laughing together at the most subtle jokes – It does take several pokes at the Hollywood lifestyle, which I imagine Writer/Director Martin McDonagh experienced while over there.

You can argue that In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths are sister films, or distant sequels set in the same universe. Colin Farrell is great and it’s good to see him actually challenged in a role for once. I’d also go so far as to say that Christopher Walken is playing the role of his life – perfectly suited to his nature. Sam Rockwell is the key funny bone in this ensemble, with all three working so well together you’d think they were best friends off screen.

Seven Psychopaths is probably the most enjoyable film I’ve seen at the London Film Festival and I’m sure it will become a cult classic. And as with Ben Affleck’s Argo, you can safely say that McDonagh’s next film will be eagerly anticipated.


Released in UK cinemas on the 7th December 2012



  1. […] Martin McDonaghs follow up to In Bruges had mixed reviews with people either loving it or hating it. Basically the Marmite film of the year. I think what it boils down to was the heavy meta element to the plot. For wannabe filmmakers and writers it struck a chord. [FULL REVIEW] […]

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