What movie junkie out there wouldn’t leap at the chance to see merry pranksters such as Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson go bug-fuck nuts in something called Seven Psychopaths? Walken, his line readings a thing of bizarro beauty, is reason enough to sign up. The icing on the cake is Martin McDonagh, the acclaimed Irish playwright who took a winning stab at writing and directing for the screen in 2008’s In Bruges. Two years ago, Walken made Broadway hum with mirth and menace in McDonagh’s A Behanding in Spokane.
Now they’re back together, with Walken playing a priceless McDonagh creation called Hans, an L.A. con artist who teams up with Billy (Rockwell) to kidnap dogs from wealthy owners and hold them for ransom. Their big mistake is nabbing Bonny, a Shih Tzu belonging to Harrelson’s Charlie Costello, a gangster with a sadistic streak for anything non-canine. Harrelson is hilarious, especially going goo-goo over Bonny. And Walken and Rockwell have mad skills at, well, everything. Their byplay gets mired by a subplot involving Marty (Colin Farrell), a boozy Irish screenwriter stuck in Hollywood and blocked on his new script. He hasn’t written anything but the title, Seven Psychopaths. To help, Billy puts out an all-points alert for scum of the earth. Not a bad idea when the great Tom Waits, playing a serial killer, becomes a contender. Blood splatters, heads explode, and McDonagh takes sassy, self-mocking shots at the very notion of being literary in Hollywood. It’s crazy-killer fun.