Bloody violent black comedy

Seven Psychopaths Alliance Rating: 18A 109 minutes

This reviewer really enjoyed Irish writer/director Martin McDonagh’s first feature In Bruges in 2008. But his new film, Seven Psychopaths, while it displays some of the same black humour and surprising, in-your-face plot twists, is a disappointment.

Colin Farrell plays a Hollywood writer struggling to write a screenplay about “nice” psychopaths. His friend, played by Sam Rockwell and his friend, Christopher Walken, are dognappers; stealing dogs and bringing them back to their owners for the reward. Unfortunately, they steal a dog belonging to a ruthless mob boss played by Woody Harrelson.

Meanwhile, there are several real psychopaths on the loose; one kills mobsters and leaves a calling card, one serial killer only kills other serial killers and so on, so there is a lot of murder, blood and gore. Some of this is meant to be funny in a black comedy way, and some of it is, but after awhile the humour fades and distaste sets in.

Farrell, Rockwell and Walken flee to Joshua Tree National Park out in the desert to get away from Harrelson, a great location for the final shootout when Harrelson and his crew show up. By this time reality and Farrell’s script are mixed up, not always to the viewer’s pleasure.

Serious movie buffs will enjoy the many movie references (for example, Rockwell’s character’s name is Bickle). But while a movie with real surprises and a kind of enjoyable goofiness is always to be appreciated, in the end this one doesn’t completely work.

Rating: three deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.