I have never had a hard time rating a film before – then came Mindhorn. Not only was I in constant stitches, but my guffaws also managed to successfully drown out half of the dialogue – much to everyone’s consternation. No one else was laughing. So how does the film manage to split its audience so much?
Netflix’s 2016 British comedy follows has-been actor Richard Thorncroft, formerly known as the TV character Mindhorn, on his quest to become relevant once more. Having wasted his prime years, the opportunity to regain some publicity comes in the form of tracking a murder suspect, who believes that Mindhorn is real. Amidst the madness of ensuing events, Richard is left trying to distinguish the difference between his persona and his true self.
The film is quite reminiscent of the 2007 action comedy Hot Fuzz, portraying a fretful police force trying to solve a mystery in a confined environment. Both films utilise character comedy, which derives its humour from a rather quirky persona. However, Mindhorn‘s brilliance relies heavily on specifically British humour, which manages to creep into surreal comedy. In that respect, it echoes the head-scratching 2000 Anglo-German avant-garde comedy The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz.
The essence of the film’s comedy manifests itself in the form of bizarre juxtapositions, truly absurd situations, and borderline amateurship. While these may sound like the characteristics of an off-putting parody, Mindhorn incorporates them so seamlessly, that you are left admiring the plot’s compelling insanity. The film is quite aware of the tropes it revisits, such as the slightly odd sidekick and the scorned lover. And yet, the fusion of a superhero’s world with that of an older man breeds naturally comedic content. So, if you are ever in the mood for a healthy dose of ridiculousness, Mindhorn is the choice for you.