Julian Barratt has been rather quiet since The Mighty Boosh came to an end. While Noel Fielding has become a bizarre TV personality and is now brandishing a wooden spoon as one of the hosts of The Great British Bake Off, Barratt has taken on small parts in a series of independent movies. This year, he returned to a starring role in Mindhorn, which he also co-wrote with fellow Boosh alumnus Simon Farnaby.
The film is a bizarre tale, focusing on Barratt as washed-up actor Richard Thorncroft. He obtained fame back in the 1980s as the star of the eponymous campy crime series, in which Detective Mindhorn had a cybernetic eye that allowed him to "literally see truth". Thorncroft is invited back to the Isle of Man, where the show was filmed, to interrogate a murder suspect who will only speak to the "real" Mindhorn. Smelling publicity, Thorncroft makes the journey.
Mindhorn is a film that takes great pleasure in its nods to the weird, shonky crime shows of the past, with the title character a fusion of Bergerac and The Six Million Dollar Man. It's a rare film that uses the Isle of Man as its setting, rather than a mere filming location, and a real showcase for Barratt's absurd comic talents. His appearance becomes stranger throughout the film and, by the end, he looks so odd even the Crack Fox would probably turn away.
It's not a perfect movie, but there are more than enough laughs to carry it through.