Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Struggling, alcoholic screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) is trying to write a script called "Seven Psychopaths" when he's suddenly drawn into the world of crime via his loser friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), who's running a dog-kidnapping scam with aging partner Hans (Christopher Walken). Turns out the hapless punks have kidnapped the beloved Shih Tzu of gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson), and he wants it back at ALL cost!

In Bruges (2008) is a hard act to follow, but writer/director Martin McDonagh seems to have taken the almost universal praise for that film to heart, and convinced himself he can not only walk on water, he can also rewrite the whole world while he does it. Don't be fooled by the plot description above, this is actually a story about how clever Martin McDonagh thinks he is. It's a story about himself, writing a story about himself, with himself in it, played by Colin Farrell. The characters are talking about writing a film, and they're IN A FILM about the same thing! MIND. BLOWN. Yes, that was sarcasm.

McDonagh's sophomore feature is a vomitorium of quirky characters, clever dialogue, and brutal violence, fueled by a crippling desire to be the next "It film". It tries to tackle about a million different plot-lines, but it constantly gets distracted and loses its way. A bit surprising, considering that once you get past all the unbearable, self-referential, screenwriting bullsh*t, the core plot is so simple and dull it wouldn't even have cut the mustard as a Beverly Hills Chihuahua sequel.

Halfway through the film everything grinds to a halt, and we actually get a scene where the characters - robbed of any goal or sense of direction - sit around a campfire and discuss the ending of the their script. You know the script one of them is writing, which is similar to the film they're in, so they're actually discussing the ending of the film itself! See what they did there? That. Just. Happened! Even Tarantino isn't this smug, when he's at his worst.

Seven Psychopaths is obnoxious and self-indulgent, and I found it utterly infuriating. It's impossible to care for the smarmy characters and in the end all I wanted to do was beat the film to death with a hardcover copy of "Teach Yourself Screenwriting".

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