Seven Psychopaths

Rated 3.0

The action in the new movie by playwright/filmmaker Martin McDonagh includes the efforts of an Irish guy named Marty (Colin Farrell) to write a Hollywood screenplay, but all he has at the start is a title, “Seven Psychopaths.” The fragmented stories that emerge, for Marty’s screenplay and/or from McDonagh’s movie, have a good deal of violence in them, some of it farcical, some of it gruesome, some of it both at once. McDonagh, whose movies call Quentin Tarantino to mind, fancies himself having a moral seriousness that is lacking in Tarantino’s pictures. Be that as it may, Seven Psychopaths fails to distinguish itself as moviemaking and ends up looking a lot like a rather lazy and deluded knock-off of the Tarantino “brand.” What it does have going for it are a good cast, an assortment of offbeat amusements, and a wacko throwaway story about a psychopathic gangster (Woody Harrelson) trying to retrieve the Shih Tzu that two part-time dog kidnappers (Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken) are holding for ransom. Farrell, stranded in McDonagh’s mildly parodic self-portrait, ends up playing half-hearted straight man to those guys and others. Cinemark 14. Rated R.