Starring: Julian Barratt, Essie Davis, Andrea Riseborough
Director: Sean Foley
Running Time: 89 mins
Mindhorn is a British film about a washed up actor who used to be the star of a hit 80s detective show that is called back to his home on the Isle Of Man to help solve a real murder case, on the condition that he puts his eyepatch on one last time.
I absolutely loved this film. It’s a fantastically quirky little comedy with a brilliant sense of humour that makes for massive laughs on a consistent basis from start to finish. With a pitch-perfect central performance from Julian Barratt, and an entertaining enough crime-comedy story to keep the interest beyond just silly laughs, Mindhorn is a properly brilliant comedy, and one you absolutely mustn’t miss.
Incredibly reminiscent of TV shows like Toast Of London that take the mick out of washed-up actors, Julian Barratt’s performance as Richard Thorncroft, the former star of Mindhorn, is the absolute stand-out of this movie, and the very reason that it’s such a riot from start to finish.
Simply put, he’s a terrifically loathsome, self-centred and delusional man who, no matter how much the world shouts at him to wake up to the depressing state of his life, won’t stop strutting around like the greatest thing that’s ever happened to the Isle Of Man. But the thing is, Barratt’s performance is so fantastically charismatic from start to finish, and makes the character such a hilarious caricature of so many real-life stories, that you can’t help but love every minute he’s on the screen.
It’s not a David Brent-style performance, where everything that comes out of the character’s mouth makes you cringe, but rather marvel and chuckle at how stylishly awful everything he does is. It’s a stroke of genius from the writers and Julian Barratt, but it makes Mindhorn really stand out in the memory as one of the funniest lead characters in a long while.
Away from the central performance, the film as a whole works brilliantly as well. Above all, its fantastic self-aware and self-deprecating sense of humour makes for some fantastic laughs throughout. Taking the mick out of cheesy 70s and 80s detective programmes is a hugely funny line early on, it consistently pokes fun at the Isle Of Man’s tiny remoteness, and of course sends up the central character from start to finish.
What’s even more impressive is that Mindhorn doesn’t just work as an out-and-out comedy, as it actually provides an entertaining and intriguing crime story to boot. Of course, it’s not a particularly unpredictable one, but it’s full of fantastically ludicrous twists and turns both when focusing on the crazy serial murderer case as well as Thorncroft’s personal affairs and catching up with everything he walked away from on the Isle Of Man three decades ago.
Overall, I had a blast with Mindhorn. Above all, it’s a simply hilarious film that will have you in stitches from start to finish, thanks to a fantastically funny screenplay and an amazing central performance from Julian Barratt, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.0.