This British comedy from one half of The Mighty Boosh, perhaps one of TV’s most insanely wonderful creations, hardly set the UK box office on fire earlier this year despite good reviews, but its release on Blu-Ray and DVD offers a welcome chance to delve deeper into the world of Mindhorn, thanks to some cracking extras.
Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) used to be famous. As the star of Isle of Man based ‘80s TV show Mindhorn, in which he played the title character, a crime fighting cop with a bionic eye, which allowed him literally to see the truth, he enjoyed the trappings of success and excess. But that all stopped when his attempt to make it in Hollywood failed and now, Thorncroft is a has been, balding, overweight and out of work thesp. But when he gets a call from the Manx police, a chance at putting himself back in the spotlight and reconnecting with his old girlfriend presents itself, as a crazed man accused of murder believes Mindhorn to be real and will talk only to him
Mindhorn is a glorious creation, played to absolute perfection by Julian Barratt, who also co-wrote. Anyone old enough to remember the likes of The Professionals or Bergerac will love the knowingly recreated part of the film set in the show’s heyday, whilst the story set in the present is filled with great characters and some brilliant laughs. It doesn’t always work (it’s no Hot Fuzz) but it works more than enough.
Barratt is joined by the likes of Essie Davis (The Babadook), Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge being the closest character to Mindhorn in terms of ego and total lack of self awareness), with serious actors like Andrea Riseborough (so unexpected in Oblivion) and even Kenneth Branagh joining in the fun.
As a comedy, it’s laugh out loud funny, as a homage to more innocent TV days it’s enormous fun and it even manages the odd moment of pathos.
This home release looks great, despite the filmmakers going to great lengths to ensure that the sections from the 80s TV show have a genuinely old school feel to them, bringing back memories of top loading VCRs and static lines interrupting your viewing pleasure.
A host of extras includes interviews and insights into the inspiration for the character, and some based around the show itself.
The best of these comes from a scene in the film, which says that Thorncroft had had a hit album back in the ‘80s. So, included in the extras is the video for the hit single ‘You Can’t Handcuff the Wind.’ So perfect is it in its pompous ridiculousness and so spot on is the recreation of the pop videos of that era, it’s worth buying the disc just for this.
MINDHORN / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: SEAN FOLEY / SCREENPLAY: JULIAN BARRATT, SIMON FARNABY / STARRING: JULIAN BARRATT, ESSIE DAVIS, STEVE COOGAN, ANDREA RISEBOROUGH / RELEASE DATE: 4TH SEPTEMBER