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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell star in "Seven Psychopaths," in theaters now.
Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell star in "Seven Psychopaths," in theaters now.

"Seven Psychopaths" a twisted comedy roller coaster

"In Bruges" director Martin McDonagh. Christopher Walken. A bunny. This magical collaboration isn't some elaborate fantasy, it's just part of the all-too-hilarious reality of "Seven Psychopaths." The story of a writer's block-afflicted screenwriter, his motley crew of friends and an unintentional stumble into L.A.'s criminal underworld is an irreverent, smart and darkly funny adventure that easily earns a spot on the list of this year's top comedies.

Aforementioned screenwriter Marty (returning McDonagh lead Colin Farrell) is desperately trying to come up with a decent script. He can't seem to settle his ideas on characters, but he's dead set on his title: "Seven Psychopaths" (sound familiar?). What results is a narrative mixed with a narrative about the narrative as Marty writes and re-writes his movie draft. Helping him is his best friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell), an affable lowlife who – together with his business partner Hans (Walken) – makes his living stealing rich people's dogs and returning them to cash in on the reward money.

Unfortunately for all of them, things take a turn for the worse when Billy makes off with the beloved Shih Tzu of neurotic crime boss Charlie (Woody Harrelson). Charlie sets out to find his furry baby by any means necessary, which puts Marty, Billy and Hans square in the deep end of the crazy pool.

Of course, they're not perfect themselves. Marty's a frazzled mess, Hans is still grappling with his mysterious past and Billy only makes things worse, running his mouth off at every opportunity and gleefully digging them deeper into their hole. And then there's Marty's b*tch girlfriend, Billy's girlfriend-that-may-or-may-not-exist and a full-fledged psychopath with a wild tale and an ever-present pet rabbit. They may not all be psychos, but they're definitely up there on the whackjob scale.

"Seven Psychopaths" is a simultaneous product of the fictional trio and writer/director McDonagh, who has crafted another sharp, self-deprecating and riotous piece of work. Its twists and turns are equal parts inventive and insane, and the story will have you hooked until the very end, which climaxes with a series of appropriately eloquent callbacks that fit perfectly in this off-kilter universe. Exceptionally written and performed, "Seven Psychopaths" is a subversively brilliant success.

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