Pitch-black ‘Seven Psychopaths’ charms, then disappoints

About halfway through “Seven Psychopaths,” I remembered this old joke: What’s an Irish seven-course dinner? A six pack and a potato. It’s an apt comparison for this a pitch-black, neo-noir comedy written, co-produced and directed by Martin McDonagh (acclaimed playwright and writer/director of 2008’s “In Bruges”). Watching “Seven Psychopaths” lures you with some great lines and foamy laughs. Great!

And we get to see a terrific cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Harry Dean Stanton, Linda Bright Clay, Abbie Cornish, Gabourey Sidibe and Olga Kurylenko. Even better!

When we want to sink our teeth into something really satisfying, though, McDonagh disappoints with this fare. Clearly, in his movie-within-a-movie, he wants to riff on crime movie clichés, point out that Hollywood is a fatuous land and pay tribute to Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. Unfortunately, the story becomes skimpy and yet annoyingly tangled. As for McDonagh’s direction, he’s either trying too hard or not trying hard enough, I’m not sure which. But, if it’s a banquet you’re after, beware: this plate is both messy and meager.

For a more extensive review, read Stephanie Zacharek’s take here.

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