Posted May 10 2017

Mindhorn - This Misaimed Throwback Movie Does Not Rock

Dir: Sean Foley

Starring Julian Barratt, Essie Davies, Russell Tovey, Steve Coogan, Andrea Riseborough, Simon Farnaby, Harriet Walter, Kenneth Branagh, Simon Callow

He's not Bergerac. He's not The Six Million Dollar Man. He's somewhere between the two. And somehow much less than either. Julian Barratt is Richard Thorncroft who was Mindhorn – as in, back in the 1980s actor Thorncroft played Isle of Man based TV detective Mindhorn, who had a bionic eye that could - literally – see the truth. So far – so mildly amusing. But as Boosh’s Barrat makes his bid for the big screen (in a small way) his comedy movie grows less and less fun and/or funny.

Thorncroft is called back to the Isle of Man (which he previously labelled a “shithole” on an old episode of Wogan – Terry is, wisely, absent) to try and help the police trap a serial killer who thinks Mindhorn is a real detective. Career resurrection or career suicide?

You could indeed ask the same question of Barratt as you are requested to of Thorncroft. And the answer would be the same for both. And the answer is – somewhere in the middle ground that defines “Meh.” Mindhorn has a few laughs in it (mostly early on), but as its plot hurdles over convolution after convolution, its joke fail to land, something that becomes more apparent the longer it goes on – and it’s not an especially long film.

Everyone bar Coogan – notably strong despite the odds – play in an increasingly one-dimensional, one-note “comedy” manner, none more so than co-writer Farnaby (who has no one to blame but himself) as Thorncroft’s former stunt double, and as it progresses, the whole thing not only become humourless but…just irritating. Barratt pitches himself somewhere between Alan Partridge and (more notably) Steven Toast, and, by echoing both, just weakens whatever strengths he might have had.

The film is set on the Isle Of Man, a place which Thorncroft describes as having a limited gene pool. Without wishing to offend any Manx folk, Mindhorn the movie kind of feels right at home there. Not so much bad, as just not any good.


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