The future of Film? Martin McDonagh’s ‘Seven Psychopaths’ deserved better after a disappointing Awards season

Reviews often need an opening gambit – a hook, if you like – to draw the readers in and to set the tone for the piece. How’s this for raising expectation levels then – the first words to leave this reviewer’s mouth when he left the cinema (after the second viewing, no less):

“That might just be the best film I have ever seen.”


You may have heard either or both of those two clichés knocking around before, of course. ‘So good you’ll want to see it twice’ is such a hackneyed expression in advertising parlance that even the bowler hat boys on ‘Mad Men’ steer clear of it. So, let us put this into perspective for you – Seven Psychopaths is one of those films that you would be happy to watch five or six times. In a row. On a delayed flight; on your honeymoon. With a screaming baby spluttering next to you.

Simply put, there isn’t a single flaw in Martin McDonagh‘s sophomore screenplay. Ostensibly a comedy, it is a film that will have you in fits of laughter between moments of acute contemplation, stifled sobs and occasionally even awe at the sheer audacity of the thing.

McDonagh has mastered meta-cinema in the same way that Kurt Vonnegut mastered the meta-novel. Overtly self-aware, this is a film about a man [Marty, played by Colin Farrell] making a film – while he is participating in that film. We watch as Marty struggles with his indolent lifestyle and incipient alcoholism to try and put together his script: ‘Seven Psychopaths’. Only Marty doesn’t really want to write about psychopaths. Marty prefers drinking and talking – he doesn’t really understand the point of violence, or why it is so appealing. Unsurprisingly, his obsession with creating non-violent psychopaths quickly manifests itself as a writer’s block, one that his good friend Billy [Sam Rockwell] is only too keen to try and cure…

Read the full review in FAULT Issue  13 – out now.

seven psychopaths review
Full review in FAULT Issue 13 – the Contrasts Issue


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Get Seven Psychopaths on [DVD] (or Blu-ray) from Amazon now