Mindhorn is a successful TV series…or was back in the 1980’s. Richard Thorncroft was the main star of the show, or was back in the 1980’s, but now times have changed.
Thorncroft, Julian Barratt (The Might Boosh (TV), A Field In England), was the charismatic star of 80’s hit TV show Mindhorn, a man who could see the truth with his bionic eye.
Unfortunately for Thorncroft, that was 25 years ago at a time when, in a moment of drunken-arrogance on the chat-show, Wogan, he insults the Isle of Man, where Mindhorn is filmed, and the rest of the cast.
Whilst the rest of the cast, his stuntman, Simon Farnaby (Horrible Histories (TV), Rogue One), real-life love interest, Effie Davies (The Babadook, The Matrix Reloaded) and co-star, Steve Coogan (Philomena, Despicable Me 3), are relatively grounded, Thorncroft is anything but.
He tries to make it in Hollywood but fails and when we catch up with him, he’s a balding, out-of-work actor, living in North London and has just lost his main gig advertising compression socks to John Nettles.
But a possible chance to resurrect his career arrives when a serial killer, Russell Tovey (The History Boys, Grabbers), who believes Mindhorn to be real, begins asking for him back on the Isle of Man.
The police draft him in but the ever pompous and arrogant Thorncroft is doing everything he can to turn things into a PR stunt, not caring that people are actually being killed.
Thorncroft falls deeper into calamity and depression as his former love-interest and stuntman are now together and his co-star, Coogan, has a long-running hit TV show, a spin-off from Mindhorn.
Can he turn himself around and be the man people need him to be? Or will this former TV star remain rooted in the past?
Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby wrote Mindhorn together and brought in first-time director Sean Foley as the man behind the camera with Steve Coogan and Ridley Scott producing.
The film itself is very funny, fans of The Mighty Boosh will, I’m sure, be pleased. Whilst it’s not quite as ‘off-the-wall’ as TMB, it has its moments. Tovey gaffer taping and supergluing Thorncroft into clothes and a wig to make him look like Mindhorn for example. Or Tovey calling himself The Kestral and cawing every now-and-again.
We’ve seen this premise before and the plot itself is a little thin. They have tried to make it into a character piece about a man turning himself around and helping others which is nice, but doesn’t completely work.
As for the DVD that in of itself is funny. It’s made to look like an 80’s VHS tape, bad tracking and even worse neon graphics, think ZX Spectrum.
There’s a ton of extras: Mindhorn Featurette, Film Shout Outs, Thieves In The Cinema Ad, The Mind Of Mindhorn, Richard Thorncroft Interview, Clive Parnevik Stunt Masterclass and, perhaps the best of all, the song ‘You Can’t Handcuff The Wind’ by Richard Thorncroft, which is brilliant.
I’m not a fan of The Mighty Boosh so wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy Mindhorn but I’m happy to say I did. It’s good, silly-fun that sends-up itself as much as 80’s TV shows and their actors.
Mindhorn is available with reversible cover sleeve artwork for the DVD and Blu-Ray discs from September 4th and available to download from August 28th.