Review: Mindhorn is a treat for fans of farcical British comedy

PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 June 2017

Mindhorn starring Julian Barratt

Mindhorn starring Julian Barratt


Co-written by stars Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby, Mindhorn tells the tale of Richard Thorncroft (Barratt), a washed up actor best known for his role as Detective Mindhorn in a popular 1980s TV show.

When an deranged killer demands to talk to Mindhorn, Thorncroft must return to his most famous role to assist police and in the process attempt to recapture his popularity.

Set on the Isle of Man, Mindhorn is an absolute treat for fans of farcical British comedy.

An opening montage of the original 80s show informs us that Mindhorn has a bionic eye the can literally “see the truth” and from then onwards the laughs come thick and fast.

Julian Barrett plays up Thorncroft’s pompous attitude and sense of entitlement to perfection, but it’s also hard not to feel for him as it becomes clear how far his star has fallen.

There are shades of Alan Partridge in the set up, and fans of that show will be pleased to see Steve Coogan himself appear as Thorncroft’s now more successful co-star.

It’s an impressive cast that also features Russell Tovey as escaped killer The Kestral, and Angela Riseborough as local detective Baines.

A particular highlight is co-writer Farnaby’s hilarious turn as former stuntman Clive Parnevik, who is now living with Thorncoft’s ex-girlfriend and takes great pleasure in taunting his former colleague with some harsh but extremely funny put downs.

The Isle of Man is a good setting for this brand of ludicrous comedy and coupled with some ridiculous physical humour, there is so much to like about this film. At 89 minutes long, it also never outstays its welcome.

Due to its somewhat limited release, it’s unclear how much of a hit Mindhorn will be in cinemas, but the film has all the hallmarks of a cult classic in the making.

For my money, Mindhorn is the funniest film of the year.


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