Monday, May 15, 2017

Mindhorn Netflix Movie Review

Mindhorn (2017)
Watch Mindhorn on Netflix
Written by: Julian Barratt, Simon Farnaby (screenplay)
Directed by: Sean Foley
Starring: Julian Barratt, Essie Davis, Kenneth Branagh, Andrea Riseborough, Steve Coogan
Rated: TV-MA

A pretentious actor who achieved brief fame as television detective Mindhorn with a robotically enhanced eye in the '80s is called to duty when a lunatic murderer calls the police station and demands to talk to the fictional Mindhorn. The police must find him to prevent more death, but the actor sees this as a springboard to relaunch his career.

I kept hoping this would reach the level of low rent Hot Fuzz (2007), but it never quite gets there. The jokes are never funny enough, and the conclusion isn't big enough despite an excellent premise. While Julian Barratt does an excellent job, he can't carry this film alone. I wanted to like this, but it doesn't deliver.
It depends.

Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt), the man behind Mindhorn, is a fascinating character, but the movie is content to present the cliche and leave it at that. He was poised to be a breakout star, leaving the show that made him famous behind. His star never rose, though a drunken interview didn't help. This had to, in part, be inspired by a certain Tom Cruise interview.

Now Thorncroft is just known as the guy that played Mindhorn. There's no introspection into this character.Does Throncroft realize how pompous he is? Is it a front masking his extreme disappointment with life? The movie doesn't explore this. Thorncroft is living in the past, focused on the few years where he had a hit television show. That was thirty years ago and he hasn't moved on. He's the high school jock that keeps reliving that one momentous touchdown in high school.

A side character of the show, Windjammer (Steve Coogan) got a spin off and is huge. That could have been Mindhorn, and that bothers him. Mindhorn of course trashed the actor, so they don't get along.

The dialog doesn't have the punch required for a parody film like this. It's a great idea that's not developed far enough. The script is the weak link. The actors do a great job, the story itself is fine, though the 'killer' plot line needs a bit of polish, but the writing isn't as funny as it should be. This isn't far removed from a short film stretched to feature length.

There are many different points I want to compare to Hot FuzzHot Fuzz is one of the greatest comedies and with both films being British, there are many similarities. Suffice to say, Mindhorn is not Hot Fuzz.

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