A HOLLYWOOD screenwriter with crippling creative block finds inspiration in the most unlikely places in Martin McDonagh’s twisted black comedy that builds on the promise of In Bruges.
Like that impressive 2008 debut, this balances giggles, gore and giddiness, spattering the screen with lashings of blood.
Most scenes of carnage unfold in flashback as figments of the lead character’s febrile imagination.
The London-born writer-director isn’t afraid to sacrifice some of his most likeable and sympathetic creations and pokes glorious fun at the film industry through his hard- drinking hero.
Booze-swilling Irish scribe Marty (Colin Farrell) has reached an impasse with a script called Seven Psychopaths, much to the chagrin of his long-suffering girlfriend Kaya (Abbie Cornish).
“I got the title – I just haven’t been able to come up with all the psychopaths yet,” he tells best friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), a jobbing actor who is involved in a dog-napping scam with elderly associate Hans (Christopher Walken).
They kidnap a shih tzu called Bonny, unaware the pooch is the pride and joy of sadistic gangster Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson) whose retribution is swift and brutal.
The film falls agonisingly short of In Bruges but is nevertheless an entertaining ensemble piece which aims a shotgun squarely between the eyes of political correctness.
Farrell is somewhat bland but Walken, Rockwell and Harrelson savour their supporting characters.