By Rachel Sanders
Paying obvious homage to films such as Anchor Man, Mindhorn is a quirky black comedy with enough laughs to make you forget how awful it could all be. The audience was (at first) unsure how to take the ‘in your face’ American-style humour, the audience were British after all
But the very British cast (inc. Julian Barratt, The Mighty Boosh, and Russell Tovey, Being Human) do a superb job of taking the mick out of themselves. They know the humour is ridiculous and they play it well – managing somehow to find the only shred of believability that could be found. In particular, Russell Tovey as the Kestrel manages to make the audience feel compassion for his mixed-up, evilness, so that by the end of the film we all just want to take him home and give him a cwtch.
The film is ludicrous and it knows it. It is unashamed – even proud – and that is its strength. It does not apologise for its bad jokes, one liners or ridiculous stereotypes (Simon Farnaby – The Mighty Boosh and more recently Rogue One – as the stunt man, Clive Parnevik, is definitely my favourite). The film revels in the nostalgia that we all love from a bygone age. It is not simply a hark back to the past however, Andrea Riseborough (Birdman) plays a superb modern day female villain, DC Baines, who does not apologise for her existence by batting her eyelids once AND she looks damn hot in bike leathers – did I mention she rides a motorbike while shooting a gun? Badass. But the best part of all this is that none of it is an issue. None of it is drawn attention to, it is simply taken as given that of course a female character can ride a sports-bike and shoot a gun and be mercilessly evil. The film sets up her modern contradiction to Mindhorn’s archaic misogyny in one fell swoop right at the beginning of the film when he, acting as a gentleman, opens the passenger side car door for her. The young, male, PC Green (Robin Morrissey) says ‘thank you’ and takes the seat leaving a confused Mindhorn watch while DC Baines, without a word, walks past to the driver’s side. A simple feminist statement that has been done before you may say, but it is done so simply and matter-of-factly that it is hilarious to see just how times have moved on when some people (like Mindhorn) haven’t.
Overall, this film is a good laugh. It is not going to move mountains with its script but the acting from a wonderful cast and so many cameos from the likes of Simon Callow and Kenneth Branagh make it well worth the watch. If you need some fun to distract you from exams, go and watch Mindhorn.