A 1970’s TV star is brought back from the brink of obscurity when a murder happens on the island where he shot most of the TV show. Mindhorn is the name of the fictional detective, an arrogant, self obsessed, patch wearing hero. Men love him and women loved to be with him. That was then, but 25 years later Richard Thorncroft, the actor who played Mindhorn, is a washed up actor, looking for a part that will pay the rent and also bring him back to the stardom that he squandered. A murder on the Isle of Man, where his show was shot, by a young man who due to a mental illness believes Mindhorn to be real and he’s the only detective that the suspected killer will deal with. Could this be his way back to fame.
British comedies are exceptionally hit or miss, and to be honest most of them miss the mark completely. Tending to lose whatever humour they had planned, or by taking naturally funny people and giving them the weakest script you could imagine. Most of them though are still better than the unfunny American “comedies” that we’ve gotten over the last few years. Thank goodness for Mindhorn. I’ll admit that I sat there and chuckled through the whole film, I wanted more, the running time of 80 minutes just wasn’t enough for me.
I grew up in Ireland during the mid 70’s and through the 80’s where reruns of detective shows like Mindhorn were frequent. I loved them, there was so much cheese in them I think that is why I don’t like eating real cheese, I got enough of it through my TV shows.
They just nail every part of the character and the actor who played him. Keeping the tongue firmly in their cheeks as they go through the past to the modern-day. How many actors like Thorncroft thought that they were everything and rose above themselves only to be swatted down like flies? Well the truth of such an actor is played perfectly. Julian Barratt nails his performance as both Mindhorn and Thorncroft, struggling to cope with the world that has passed him by. The supporting cast, which includes Steve Coogan, Essie Davis, Kenneth Branagh, and Simon Callow all give this film that hint of reality that it needs.
The jokes come thick and fast, you don’t have that outright wee yourself moment, which actually works in the films favour. There are more laughs in this than nearly any comedy I’ve seen anywhere else in the last 12 months. As I said earlier though it’s just a little short for me. But that’s a minor complaint, although extending the film to show what happens after the plot is resolved would have been a nice touch. They try this in the final credits but it would have been nicer to show rather than just stills.
While a lot of you might not get the chance to see this film in theatres, I do urge you to do so if you can, comedies like this have to, have to, have to be supported with your patronage. We have to go see the funny, rent the funny, buy the DVD of proper funny movies like Mindhorn or we’re going to have to sit through Dad’s Army 2, or whatever the next film will be that I’ll sit there stony faced at. We don’t get many of these truly hilarious movies, so when we do, we support them. That’s why I’ll be marking this one down on my list to buy on bluray, and going back to the cinema to watch again on its release. As you get older you laugh less, that is a sad truth, but here there are many, many, many wonderful laughs.
Director: Sean Foley
Writers: Julian Barratt, Simon Farnaby
Stars: Essie Davis, Andrea Riseborough, Harriet Walter