After such a remarkable career, it would be inaccurate to call what Christopher Walken does here “the performance of his career”. He’s had so many extraordinary turns, in so many different types of roles (the bad guy, the good guy, the weird-creepy guy, the weird-funny guy) that singling out any one of them won’t do. Let’s just say that Walken has never been better than he is here. And let’s say of Sam Rockwell, who hasn’t been around as long, that this is the performance of his career… so far. He starts out the film as a sidekick; by the end he’s taken control. Rockwell and Walken stand atop a main cast rounded out by Woody Harrelson (who absolutely “gets” his quirky gangster) and Colin Farrell (rebounding nicely from the dullsville TOTAL RECALL remake), and amid side players the likes of Tom Waits and Zeljko Ivanek. With these guys, the movie was bound to succeed at the least as a glorious acting exercise. But it’s more than that; it turns a crime drama into a metaphor for the creative process itself. I know that sounds awfully pretentious, but somehow writer-director Martin McDonagh (working in the same mode as his great IN BRUGES) pulls it off, posing questions about violence and renunciation, action versus talk, acceptance or fighting back, which spring organically from the crazed goings-on. 7P is funny, violent, and brainy, but for all its many pleasures, it’s Walken who dominates — Walken, who by now has mastered the ability to take anything from a throwaway line to a character who could not exist in real life and give them the weight of genius. — Jeff Schultz

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