Seven Psychopaths

The line between reality and cinema is blurred in this powerful but excessively violent drama. The complex plot centers on a borderline-alcoholic screenwriter (Colin Farrell) and two of his friends (Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell). The latter duo have a scam going that involves kidnapping dogs and getting cash rewards for returning them to their unsuspecting owners, who think the pets have just gone missing. Walken's character uses the funds to finance his wife's (Linda Bright Clay) breast cancer treatment. But things go awry when they snatch a crazed gangster's (Woody Harrelson) beloved pooch. They go on the lam, joined by the screen scribe who incorporates their experiences into a script he's writing for a movie with the same title as this one. Writer-director Martin McDonagh is firing on all aesthetic pistons, as too are his stars. But his serious meditation on the vicious cycle of wrongdoing and revenge - and the possibilities of living peacefully - is marred by off-the-charts bloodletting and scenes of sickening mayhem. Also lost in the queasy shuffle is his screenplay's unusually forthright affirmation of an afterlife.

Watch out for: Pervasive gory violence, including torture and multiple suicides, nongraphic nonmarital sexual activity, a prostitution theme, upper female nudity, several uses of profanity, relentless rough and crude language.

Rated: The Catholic News Service classification is O - morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R - restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 1970