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REVIEW: Mindhorn

May 5, 2017

Director: Sean Foley
Screenplay: Julian Barratt, Simon Farnaby
Starring: Julian Barratt, Essie Davis, Andrea Riseborough, Steve Coogan, Russell Tovey, Simon Farnaby
Runtime: 89 Minutes

 

★★★☆☆

 

Mindhorn comes to us from much the same team who have carved a niche in the corners of cult British comedy, from members and writers of The Mighty Boosh to contributors to the parody and satire of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and Brass Eye. A roast of the multitude of detective series of the 1980s, with its core character a clear riff on The Six Million Dollar Man.

 

Similar to Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, washed up television star Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) sees a real-life crisis as his opportunity to reignite his career through a media blitz in helping an investigation by once again donning his persona as Detective Mindhorn; a detective with an augmented robot eye who can literally see the truth.

 

It’s preposterous and slight but it’s sold by a game cast and a grounded sense of glum reality and awkward humour. Barratt gives a game performance as the ageing former star, Essie Davis is wonderful as his former jilted partner, Simon Farnaby steals every moment as a Dutch one-time stunt double for Thorncroft and a collection of other turns from notable faces fill out the rest of their personalities and characters. The strange little lines and dialogue exchanges make up most of its dry and sarcastic sense of humour, and the inherent value of having a moderately action based premise on the Isle of Man is amusing in itself.

 

It can’t help but feel all too often that even at the brisk length of 90 minutes it's like a single half-hour sketch that has been dragged out. But it’s well put together by director Sean Foley and constantly funny enough in its more surreal aspects – and authentic retro aesthetics – to keep it entertaining.

 

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