Directed by Sean Foley
The ridiculously adventurous “Mindhorn” borrows its title from a tacky British detective whose optical eye is no more and no less than a truth-detector that permits him to capture lawbreakers with relative facility. The hero, played by the extravagant actor Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt), a true Capoeira devotee, was created for a TV show that suddenly became a massive success in the Isle of Man, where it was filmed in the late 80s.
25 years later, we find Richard in London, unemployed and infesting casting auditions and cine-studios with unconvincing demonstrations of his rusty acting capabilities.
Unexpectedly, he returns to Douglas on the Isle of Man to embody the famous character again, but not for a film or TV series. The motive has to do with a serial killer, Paul Melly (Russell Tovey), an advocate of the Apocalypse of Justice, who demands his presence right after slaying another victim.
Escorted and protected by police officers, Richard is regarded as the secret key to catch the villain. In addition to the difficulty of actuate in a real environment pelted with real dangers and misleading cops, Richard re-encounters the old crew he left behind, including his ex-girlfriend and actress, Patricia Deville (Essie Davis), now a serious journalist married with Richard’s former stunt-man Clive Parnevik (Simon Farnaby), and also Geoffrey Moncrief (Richard McCabe), a broke public relations who lives decadently in a caravan. He also tries to reach Peter Eastman (Steve Coogan), a second-rate actor turned ostentatious businessman whose contact he should avoid.
The film, produced by Coogan and Ridley Scott, was directed by Sean Foley from a screenplay by Barratt and Farnaby, relying heavily on Barratt’s performance to convey the carefree posture and provocative attitude of the insolent, self-aggrandizing protagonist. It also features cameos from Kenneth Brannagh and Simon Callow.
“Mindhorn” is an outlandish, intellectually limited experience that uses a few cheap gimmicks to entertain. Yet, it shows some nerve in the wild, if nonsensical situations depicted. It can be defined as a blend of crime parody and calamitous detective misadventure populated by weird, fabricated characters. Despite all the artful imbecility associated with it, I didn’t give my time as wasted and even discovered a few hilarities among its never static imbroglios.
The renowned American entertainment company Netflix saw its commercial viability while it was running in the UK theaters and acquired the broadcasting rights.