After success with the brilliant In Bruges back in 2008, Martin McDonagh is back this year with a film about a struggling writer (played brilliantly by Colin Farrell) who is having trouble finishing his script, when he gets caught up in a whirlwind of violence all because some psycho’s precious shih-tzu gets dog-napped. Given that Farrell’s struggling writer is called ‘Marty’, there is evidently something of autobiography about this film for McDonagh, but struggling is the last adjective I would use for this Anglo-Irish genius.
It may have taken him some time, but McDonagh definitely doesn’t disappoint with this follow up. The film laments in many ways the fact that it’s sometimes difficult to be taken seriously in Hollywood. However, it doesn’t do this with a moan, but with blood splattering, dog-napping and, as the title might suggest, properly psychotic characters who have more than a whiff of Tarantino about them. McDonagh’s film plays on the stereotypes of mindless male action movies to make it’s points, and the result is a film full of memorable one-liners and a great narrative that may not be as iconic as Pulp Fiction but is definitely one of the better action-crime plots of the year (not that it really has much competition in a year which has seen us blessed with such turkeys as The Expendables 2). Also, it features a host of very cute dogs.
What really stands out here is the cast. Many of the big names give what are quite possibly their best performances of recent years. Big man Christopher Walken is better than he has been in years (possibly since his turn in Fat Boy Slim’s music video for ‘Weapon of Choice’..), Sam Rockwell really impresses as Marty’s unemployed, dog-napping best friend, and Woody Harrelson is enticing as the rage-blackout gangster with a heart, whose precious dog is napped by Rockwell’s Billy. It is Colin Farrell that really impresses here though. I think Farrell is an actor who is seriously under-rated, possibly because he does know how to pick some stinkers to star in. However, in these lower profile character pieces, Farrell always shines.
This is a wonderfully mad film, which I’m sure will become one of those classic ‘quotable cult-movies’ within a few years and definitely deserves a place on any Top 10 list of 2012.
Marty, keep ’em coming lad.