"This dog is my Patty Hearst!" proclaims puppy-napper Billy (Sam Rockwell) when, even in the face of iminent death, Bonny the Shih Tzu's master Charlie (Woody Harrelson) says he will stop at nothing to get him back.
Billy and his partner in this pooch-poaching scheme, Hans (Chistopher Walken), have a nice little cash-collecting racket going on: they nab people's prized pets, then look for the reward signs to be posted, return the dogs as if they are good samartitans and then collect the cash. These tidy bundles are all well and good, until they steal a Shih Tzu with a tag that's engraved with the words, "Bonny. If found, return to Charlie Costello OR I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU!"
While that may not be the least of their concerns, it's just one of many for Billy and Hans. Hans's wife is terminally ill in the hospital, and Billy's acting career is D.O.A. A lot rides on their best bud's potential blockbuster screenplay, entitled Seven Psychopaths. Only problem is, all Marty (Colin Farrell) has is a title.
In order to add realism to the story, and to flesh out the plot-points, Billy places an advert in a local newspaper: only bona fide bonkers need apply. A cavalcade of killer characters parades through, not the least of which is Zachariah (Tom Waits) a bunny-hugging, tea-sipping psychopath whose back story has a big enough body-count to fill at least one screenplay and several sequels. But: he's just a cog in the wheel when it comes to the figurative and literal getaway car from Bonny's hell-bent master who is way beyond just paying up and shutting up.
Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, who did another brilliant, dark crime caper and buddy movie with actor Colin Farrell a few years back, In Bruges, is in fine fettle using tinsel town as his backdrop. The story is so very delightfully complex, twisty-turny and topsy-turvy, to give much a away would be a much a crime as the dubious activities in which McDonagh's puppets play. The filmmaker, in recent interviews, has cited Sam Peckinpah and Terrence Malick as cinematic influences — not to mention Preston Sturgess. I'll throw in a dash of The Coen Bros., a bucket of blood, and we've got ourselves a recipe for delightful disaster.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson