FILM REVIEW - MINDHORN
Running Length: 88 minutes
Release Date: 5th May 2017
Directed by: Sean Foley
Cast: Julian Barratt, Essie Davis, Andrea Riseborough, Simon Farnaby
Written by: Julian Barratt, Simon Farnaby
Cinematography: David Luther
``not quite as much fun to watch as it probably was to make``
Mindhorn is about an actor playing an actor. Back in the 1980s Richard Thorncroft (Barratt) played the titular “Mindhorn”; a sort of Six Million Dollar Bergerac fighting crime on the Isle of Man (where else?) with a bionic eye that can “see the truth”. But Thorncroft’s ego runs rampant and after burning his bridges he heads off to Hollywood. Skip forward a quarter century and the down-at-heel actor is living in a bedsit overrun with unsold Mindhorn merchandise and eking a living advertising orthopaedic socks. When a serial killer demands to speak with his fictional character, the Manx police reluctantly call on Thorncroft, and the actor sees an opportunity to cash in.
In polyester slacks, moobs, and an overinflated sense of self-importance, Thorncroft is cut from the same manmade cloth as Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan – who co-produced with Ridley Scott – commits to a cameo), but it’s doubtful that this alter ego will have the same legs.
Pointing and laughing at the decade that taste forgot is like shooting fish. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace got here first and did it with more panache. But the easy target of cheesy 80s TV is just one of the fillings in this mildly satisfying sandwich.
The script (co-written by Barratt and Simon Farnaby) is full of peaks and troughs. When Barratt is funny he is very funny indeed, and Mindhorn has flashes of comedic genius. But in the main it’s content to bump along the bottom of the quality radar. Many of the peripheral characters simply don’t work. Andrea Riseborough is wasted. A little of Farnaby’s Dutch stuntman goes a very long way (we get a lot), and Richard McCabe’s grubby ex-manager is a complete washout.
Mindhorn runs out of steam as it lumbers towards the finale, but there’s a homemade spit-and-sawdust feel to it that’s quite charming. It’s not quite as much fun to watch as it probably was to make, but there are still enough genuine laugh-out-loud moments here to make it worth your while.