Mindhorn Blu-ray Review
A Man's Man. A Ladies' Man. On the Isle of Man.
In the vein of Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Mindhorn riffs on cheap 80s detective shows, carving out a fair few laughs along the way.Julian Barratt plays Richard Thorncroft, a failing actor who once played the lead in a successful police procedural called Mindhorn (because he had a laser eye which could tell if you were lying). With work drying up, he has finally hit rock bottom, but is offered the chance of a lifetime - to help a real police investigation involving a suspect who refuses to talk to anybody other than the fictional Detective Mindhorn himself. Getting back into character - and the clothes - and returning to the show's location, the Isle of Man, Thorncroft frustrates the real cops (Andrea Riseborough), clumsily woos his former co-star and flame (Essie Davis), and tries to recapture his former glory, uncovering a bigger conspiracy in the process: one which may be too much for even the great Mindhorn to handle.This absurdist satire follows the likes of Alpha Papa (Steve Coogan even makes a cameo) in its straight-faced but laugh-out-loud look at atypical police dispute resolution, delivering the same kind of irreverent humour writer/star Julian Barratt perfected in his roles in shows like the underrated Chris Morris series, Nathan Barley, Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and The Mighty Boosh. Barratt makes for a perfect Mindhorn, part Six-Million Dollar Man, part-Bergerac, wandering the Isle of Man - itself looking like it's stuck in the past - as if the 80s never ended. Whilst the budget is clearly tiny, Barratt's writing and Sean Foley's direction elevate it to a fairly decent Brit spoof, making the most of the unusual setting and the solid support from familiar faces, and proving a hoot for those born of the right generation.
Picture QualityMindhorn manages to make for a good looking release.
Although often wearing its budget on its sleeve, Mindhorn still manages to make for a good looking piece, afforded a solid 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation with this Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release, framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen.
Detail remains generally very good, absorbing the weathered looks - particularly on the lead character - as well as finer clothing textures and background nuances. Hair - wigs and moustaches - are well represented, whilst the Isle of Man looks suitably windy and cloudy, but still sports some nicer broader landscapes that look pretty impressive. The colour scheme is a little restricted by the intended style of the piece (and perhaps also the setting), but does its best, given a few richer 70s/80s-esque tones to play with, and a nice Jag to shine. Black levels are strong for the most part, only faltering briefly and whilst there's a little softness around the edges, the look generally reflects the style of the piece, which is modern in production only, and very much retro in intent.
Sound QualityA decent aural offering that suits the movie
The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (although it's worth noting the Blu-ray does default on playback to the LPCM 2.0 Stereo counterpart) is also a strong enough offering, with plenty of retro electronic keyboard action. Dialogue remains well-prioritised across the frontal array, delivered with clarity and coherence, whilst effects get a few nominal louder sounds to play with (the odd gunshot, although those are often silenced, and car screeches) but are mostly atmospheric in nature. Nevertheless, the track relays them with verve, crafting a suitably windy Isle of Man backdrop, even if the budget and scope once again reveals limitations. With a sporadically funky score further engaging you, it's a decent enough aural offering, that perfectly suits the movie, even if it's never going to make for demo material.
ExtrasThere's a whole slew of hilarious, often in-character, extras on this release, headlined by a Commentary by writer/star Julian Barratt and co-star Simon Farnaby. The Mindhorn Featurette is a 5 minute piece but manages to have plenty of interview snippets and behind the scenes shots, whilst we get a bunch of faux Mindhorn adverts with Film Shout Outs, a Thieves in the Cinema Ad (again, in-character), warning against crime in the cinema, a Mind of Mindhorn faux interview with fictional actor Richard Thorncroft (Barratt), and one with both him and and his (faux) stuntman, Cliver Parnevik (Farnaby), who then goes on to give his own Stunt Masterclass. The disc is rounded off by the faux music video by Richard Thorncroft, You Can't Handcuff the Wind, as well as some Trailers on startup.
Blu-ray VerdictPart Six-Million Dollar Man and part-Bergerac
Mindhorn's Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release affords the piece solid video and audio and a bunch of hilarious extras. Fans should consider it a decent purchase, whilst those who like the sound of it should certainly consider a rental.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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