Film Review: Mindhorn – 8/10

‘It’s truth time…’

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The very best parodies feel more like a love letter than a piss take. Julian Barrett and Simon Farnaby’s send up of 70s cop drama’s falls squarely into this camp. Seven years in the making, Mindhorn finds Julian Barrett’s ageing actor struggling to find work after his hit detective show is wound up. A psychopathic killer who calls himself the Kestrel holds the key to unlocking Mindhorn’s hidden potential…

The first thing to note is that I am not a massive fan of the British detective genre but that never tempered my enjoyment of Mindhorn. The jokes are universal enough and funny enough to never succumb to genre trappings. Barrett was excellent in last years dark comedy Flowers and he continues his purple patch with Mindhorn. It is clear that Barrett loves the character and the concept and his enthusiasm is infectious. An eclectic but talented supporting cast allow Barrett and Farnaby’s creation to come to life. Steve Coogan is at his slimy best as Mindhorn’s former co-star and Farnaby himself is brilliant as Mindhorn’s ludicrous, scene stealing stuntman.

I saw this film at the Sheffield Showroom cinema and it was followed by a Q & A with Barrett and Farnaby. Both spoke warmly and with excitement about their uniquely British comic creation and with good reason. Mindhorn has the potential to become either a crossover success or a cult hit or even both.

The punchlines come thick and fast and nearly all of them land but there is also a heart beating throughout Mindhorn that makes the eponymous hero a sympathetic character while also being a massive arse. It is a testament to Barrett’s ability that he plays both sides of the character convincingly.

Julian Barrett and Simon Farnaby have made enough interesting work to build up a sizeable following. Mindhorn deserves to be the film to make that following much bigger. It already feels a shoe in for the funniest film of the year.


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