Robert Carlyle makes his directorial debut with comedy thriller The Legend of Barney Thomson, an adaption of a book by Scots author Douglas Lindsay. Aberdeen Voice’s Andrew Watson reviews.
For a start Ray Winstone was brilliant as the ever so slightly jingoistic copper, Holdall. There’s a funny scene on the phone to someone reporting a crime to whom he replies he can’t understand what they’re saying, adding he knows damn well fine the caller’s Scottish.
He’s always simmering, even coming to boiling point walking past some ne’er do wells on the streets of Glasgow.
To be honest, when news of the film came to light it was half expected Holdall would be a fluent Glaswegian police officer and that perhaps he’d don at least a reasonably respectful Scottish brogue.
Turns out he’s does what he best, authentic Cockney.
Having said that, English actress Emma Thompson is to be commended for her performance as Carlyle’s onscreen mother, the fierce yet happy go lucky matriarch Cemolina, with a very convincing Scottish salt of the earth portrayal.
Anyway, Barney Thomson (Robert Carlyle) leads an uninspired life as a barber pushed further and further away from the shop window as his colleagues bemoan his lack of ‘chat’ to customers.
He’s awkward and antisocial to the point he’s deemed almost the perfect discontented serial killer.
Only this is by accident, though. This is comedy of silly slapstick combined with some grisly gore, both elements offsetting one other.
It also turns out there is another serial killer on the loose, and that Barney’s two accidental murders, his boss and colleague, are suspected by the ever bungling police to be all at the hands of the same person.
There’s a few nice twists throughout the film, and if you haven’t read the books, like many, the ending may come as somewhat of a surprise.
Overall, it’s something different from the typical Hollywood fare. It’s got that certain British grit and humour about it.