The fact that the central character in Seven Psychopaths is an Irish writer named Marty should suggest the kind of film we're dealing with here. McDonagh's second feature as a director is a self-reflexive meditation on the act of screenwriting itself, as a boozy Hollywood hack, played by Colin Farrell, struggles to complete a script entitled Seven Psychopaths with the help of his unhinged actor buddy (Sam Rockwell). Events rapidly spiral out of control, but the narrative never coheres into anything more than an intermittently amusing mess, despite the unexpected note of pathos that Christopher Walken brings to his part.
For all of the film's bloodshed and misogyny (McDonagh's attempt to mitigate that misogyny by questioning it himself doesn't wash), the most off-putting aspect of this sub-Adaptation caper is the sense of smug self-satisfaction that the whole picture reeks of. Martin McDonagh is undoubtedly a very clever man, but with Seven Psychopaths he is interested in nothing more than celebrating his own cleverness. [Philip Concannon]