Published on June 19th, 2015 | by Allan Brown4
EIFF 2015: The Legend of Barney Thomson Review
Movie Review: The Legend of Barney Thomson (2015)
Running Time: 90 minutes
Director: Robert Carlyle
Writers: Robert Carlyle, Richard Cowan, Colin McLaren
Cast: Robert Carlyle, Emma Thompson, Ray Winstone, James Cosmo, Ashley Jensen, Martin Compston, Kevin Guthrie, Stephen McCole
A string of bad luck, two suspicious police investigators and a ferocious, foul mouthed mother, all plague Robert Carlyle in The Legend of Barney Thomson.
Glasgow Barbour Barney Thomson, lives life in a perpetual cycle of tedium and dreek monotony, in a profession filled with awkward dialogue exchanges, bullish colleagues and unappreciative clients.
But when Thomson accidentally kills someone with his styling shears, he quickly finds himself at the centre of a large serial killer investigation, championed by two of Scotland’s most incompetent task forces.
Carlyle’s directorial début is a riotous crowning achievement in comedic excellence. Not only does he skilfully deliver a delicious dose of macabre black-comedy drenched in Glasgow city culture, but offers a punchy screenplay (adapted from Douglas Lindsay novel Long Midnight of Barney Thomson) complete with side-splitting dialogue, in a playground built for comedic absurdity, to which the entire cast relish with delight.
Leading the foray is of course Robert Carlyle, who offers nothing less than a rich intuitive performance as our bumbling lead, Thomson. However, it is his supporting cast that really shine here, and brightest of all is Emma Thompson who intentionally hams it up delivering a fiendishly riotous turn as Barney’s mother Cemolina, who truth be told, is mad as a bag of cats. Kevin Guthrie, Ray Winston and Ashley Jensen also deliver memorable, larger than life performances as competing coppers, and James Cosmo, Martin Compston and Stephen McCole bring the barbershop floor to life in some hilarious dialogue exchanges that are an absolute delight to watch unfold.
Summary: The Legend of Barney Thomson is a strong directorial début for Carlyle, who not only shows tremendous skill behind the camera, but demonstrates a real knack for character drama and comedy.