Movies The O.D. on Movies

The O.D. on Movies: Mindhorn

ROW and Couch Owl discuss Mindhorn, a 2016 movie starring Julian Barratt, Essie Davies, Andrea Riseborough, and Steve Coogan, directed by Sean Foley, and written by Barratt and Simon Farnaby (who also stars in the movie).

  • ROW: This is the only movie you saw this week?
  • CO: Yes; it was a difficult week.
  • ROW: How come?
  • CO: I had to…um…change couch?! Look, I was busy and I only had time to see Mindhorn! But, that’s fine because this is a good movie and I have lots to say!
  • ROW: Okay; I’m glad to hear that this is a good movie, because I’ve had my eye on this one for quite a while! I’m a huge fan of Coogan’s style and his Alan Partridge movie (Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa).
  • CO: Mindhorn is definitely akin to that, but not as good overall; however it adds a few extra elements that make it different enough—and it’s a good enough movie on its own—and worthwhile for you.
  • ROW: You’re referring to the cheesy 80s styled presentation, right?
  • CO: It certainly is nostalgic in that sense, but also refreshingly honest about why it is nostalgic for that; it acknowledges that most of the procedural TV shows from the 80s are bad now, but back then they had a certain charm and character which made them endearing for fans (who are now pretty old!).
  • ROW: And that element worked for you?
  • CO: Not really, but it worked as a comedic tool to gain some good laughs; so I didn’t mind it in the end. It was a nice break from the “cocky asshole lead character, who is a laughing stock for the rest of the world, while he is delusional and shitty to the people close to him because he still thinks he is great” style of comedy.
  • ROW: This is basically the same premise as Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, right?
  • CO: More or less, yes: Richard Thorncroft is a washed up actor with a hit TV show—called Mindhorn—who has a chance to get his name into the spotlight again by helping the Isle of Man Police Department catch a killer who will only speak with him. The premise is as simple as it sounds, and the story does not try to subvert expectations or do something unexpected/new with that premise; it relies more on the comedic performances of the actors and the well written jokes to entertain the audience, which it fully manages to do so!
  • ROW: So, you enjoyed that aspect?
  • CO: Yes; it’s a bit slow to start, but it picks up the pace soon and keeps going until the end. Also, huge props to the creative team for not overstaying their welcome: The movie is an hour and 28 minutes long; exactly the right amount for this type of movie.
  • ROW: Another common element with Alan Partridge; speaking of which, how’s the acting because without that Alan Partridge would be too cynical and mean-spirited to enjoy.
  • CO: Barrett is excellent; in comedic terms, his physical comedy is absurd and on point, while his delivery channels the great Matt Berry in how cocky and self-assured this horrible person is. However, he does the character justice, with some good acting in more dramatic moments. Other than Barrett, Coogan, Essie Davies and Riserorough are pretty good; they play into their characters and do enough to make their characters likeable/sympathetic or disliked, while still delivering good comedic moments.
  • ROW: And since this is a comedy, if it made you laugh throughout then it’s a success. Any standout beyond the comedy?
  • CO: Well, film any movie on the Isle of Man and you have a great looking movie, because of how gorgeous that place is! Beyond that though, I didn’t have any expectations blown away or not met; I wished they were be a bit more bold with their characters and their storytelling sensibilities, but it never pointed to that or foreshadowed anything that would suggest that. It’s just a personal wish to see these interesting premises being explored a bit more thoroughly!
  • ROW: Right, well I’m convinced to give it a shot; hopefully next week we will have more to talk about!
  • CO: We should, although I do still wo…I mean need to move another couch?!
The Legendary Mindhorn! With a weird mouth and nose…

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