Mighty Boosh graduates Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby co-wrote this fantastic throwback to classic British TV that leaves you in fits of laughter. Under the astute eye of director Sean Foley, Barratt and Farnaby have created a quintessential British comedy that resonates with anyone who was brought up with the likes of Bergerac or The Six Million Dollar Man on television.
Barratt plays Richard Thorncroft, a has-been actor who shot to fame in the 80s in the Isle of Man-set TV series Mindhorn, where he played a detective with a robotic eye that could ‘literally see the truth’. Jump to present day, and Thorncroft’s career has faltered, with his Mindhorn-fame days a distant memory. That is until a crazed killer with a delusional obsession with all things Mindhorn baffles police by saying he will only negotiate with Mindhorn himself. So Thorncroft dusts off the eye-patch and leather jacket to reprise his most famous role, save some lives and in the process, maybe relaunch his career.
Full of hilarious, side-splitting gags, this is one of the funniest films you’ll see all year with every joke landing where it should. It delivers a comedy that goes back to basics in giving you a simple but very effective premise that’s familiar to most, and laces it with classic British slapstick and observational humour that’s easy to love.
Julian Barratt is sensational as Richard Thorncroft aka Minhorn and leads the film exceptionally well. His early exchanges, especially with Kenneth Branagh in a rare cameo, are simply delightful and he absolutely nails the concept of the has-been actor looking for one last shot at the limelight. Farnaby plays Thorncroft’s former stunt-double and the two effortlessly conjure up chemistry as rivals for the affections of the brilliant Essie Davis, who plays Thorncroft’s former co-star and real-life lost love Patricia Deville. Barratt is the crowning glory but Farnaby frequently steals his scenes.
The rest of the supporting cast are all excellent too with Russell Tovey doing a great job as the delusional Paul Melly aka the Kestrel. It’s always good to see Andrea Riseborough onscreen, and David Schofield is a great foil to Thorncroft’s diva-like persona. Steve Coogan is very effective as a former colleague who has gone on to great TV success, and delivers his usual brand of arrogant charm with suitable aplomb. It’s a shame his character wasn’t used enough actually.
Mindhorn is a complete joy from start to finish and guarantees a great night out at the cinema. In Farnaby and Barratt, the film has two genuine comedy geniuses at the helm and they deliver a real gem that fully deserves a sequel. Fingers crossed for that, because the suave sophistication of Richard Thorncroft needs to be revisited very soon.
Cast: Julian Barratt, Essie Davis, Simon Farnaby, Andrea Riseborough Russell Tovey, Andrea Riseborough, Kenneth Branagh, Steve Coogan, David Schofield, Jessica Barden, Harriet Walter, Simon Callow, Richard McCabe Director: Sean Foley Writer: Simon Farnaby, Julian Barratt Released By: Studiocanal Certificate: 15 Duration: 89 mins Release Date: 5th May 2017