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Mindhorn - DVD Review

Mindhorn

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THE creative team behind The Mighty Boosh have reunited to deliver another highly amusing, if equally out there, comedy in the form of Mindhorn.

Drawing on, and quite often parodying the likes of Bergerac and Alan Partridge, the film follows washed up former TV star Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) as he is given an unexpected shot at redemption.

When a suspected serial killer operating on the Isle of Man insists he will only speak to the fictional detective Bruce P Mindhorn that Thorncroft once played, the actor is forced to get back into character to help solve the case.

But far from taking the law enforcement element seriously, Thorncroft views the job as a chance to right some past wrongs and put himself back in the limelight, blissfully unaware that he is entering into something far bigger and more deadly than initially seemed to be the case.

Based on a script that was co-written by Barratt and Simon Farnaby, and directed by Sean Foley, Mindhorn is the type of film that would have been easy to get wrong. The quirky, often offbeat humour could have been an acquired taste, while the trailer suggests that the central idea may not be strong enough to sustain a whole movie.

Yet while Mindhorn does occasionally fall prey to some of those criticisms, it’s also surprisingly durable and more often than not capable of making you laugh out loud.

Barratt is great as Thorncroft, equally at ease making an idiot out of himself as he is tapping into something more melancholy. As a result, the central character is worth rooting for in that classic David Brent kind of way, no matter how many times he gets in the way of himself.

There’s strong support, too, from the likes of Essie Davis, as former co-star/lover Patricia Deville; Steve Coogan, as the similarly egotistical small-screen sidekick Peter Easterman; and even Kenneth Branagh and Simon Callow in a couple of highly amusing self-deprecating cameos as, well, themselves.

The Isle of Man locations lend the film an idiosyncratic feel of its own, that’s deliberately evocative of small screen past classics such as Bergerac, while the story has a couple of surprises up its sleeve that are genuinely well concealed.

Hence, while some of the humour is more awkward and forced than fun, and the pace does drag at times, Mindhorn emerges as a surprisingly likeable oddity that looks destined to become a cult comedy classic.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 89mins
UK Blu-ray and DVD Release: September 4, 2017