#13 – Mindhorn (2016)



Directed by:  Sean Foley


Julian Barratt

Russell Tovey

Andrea Riseborough

Essie Davis

Simon Farnaby




I first heard about this film on the Adam Buxton podcast here. I’m not a Mighty Boosh fan but the reason I watched this film was because I really loved Julian Barratt’s character in the tv show Nathan Barley and thought he acted with a real down-to-earth/relatable feel and wanted to see more of him. This film was superbly acted and with a comedy styling from the same school as Steve Coogan and Armando Iannucci so it was perfect for me and any fan of Alan Partridge and The Thick Of It!


PLOT: Richard Thorncroft is an out-of-work actor who is recognised as his most famous tv show character ‘Mindhorn’. A man is framed for a murder he didn’t commit on the Isle Of Man which was where ‘Mindhorn’ was set. This man is obsessed with the show and he demands to speak to Mindhorn to help prove his innocence and so Richard Thorncroft is forced to dress up as his most famous character to help the police!


So the plot sounds a bit thin, and it is. The writing is fantastic and the comedy is superior. It starts off feeling like a proper budget, classic British comedy film in the same league as Shaun Of The Dead or Confetti where the backdrop is London and it shows real people and their real jobs but with a slight fantastical edge to it that would only happen once in a person’s lifetime such as help the police solve a case!

As the tv show ‘Mindhorn’ was set in the ’80’s there’s a lot of ‘original footage’ of the show and the graphics and audio techniques used to capture that era are absolutely spot on. Every 8bit graphic and crackly piece of audio is just perfect!

Unfortunately, only the first half of the movie is like this, the second half turns into a bit of a family, adventure, Spy Kids type feel. There’s a lot of payoffs in the dialogue and return to phrases used in the second half done in a very cheesy way. The problem is it’s not even done ironically because this film is so heavy with irony that you can tell the obvious irony from the subtle irony and none of the payoffs are done ironically. 


The stunts in the film (particularly in the second half) feel a bit forced and false. Although this time I’m not sure if it was supposed to be ironic or not as they seem to be done for laughs but for a film that’s obviously got a decent wedge of money behind it, the stunts feel like they could have been better. Even for laughs.


A smaller problem with the film is that it felt REALLY short. The film itself without adverts or end credits felt like it was about an hour and 20 minutes long. It could have easily done with an extra 30 minutes just to fill out some scenes and add a bit of exposition in places that needed it. 


If you’re a fan of Russell Tovey then you might not enjoy this film very much as I felt he was very underused in this film. His acting skills are too good to play the role of an idiot who tends to just run around and make squawking noises.

However, there is a redeeming feature at the end of the film. After the credits have finished there is a BRILLIANT music video by Richard Thorncroft. The song is called ‘You Can’t Handcuff The Wind’ and the music is so on the money for that era it feels like watching a genuine music video from that time. It’s not just brilliant, it’s unbelievably catchy too! I caught myself humming it the rest of the day. If they release the song as a digital download I’ll be buying it easily. I’ll buy the movie too as you never know what extras you’ll get and I’m a sucker for any budget british comedy film!



So if you’re a Mighty Boosh/Alan Partridge/British comedy fan watch this movie. Maybe I’ll like it more after seeing it for a second time. One of the best things about these types of British comedies is seeing all the familiar british actors popping up and the strength of talent we have in this country.



My Rating – 6/10  |  IMDB – 6.4/10  |  Rotten Tomatoes – 90%





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