Mindhorn is a Netflix original about a has-been washed-up actor whom is called out of obscurity to help catch a killer who will only speak to the character, Mindhorn. A premise we’ve seen before and variations like Castle, mystery writer works with police to solve crimes, but with a British sensibility. There is a marked difference if you’ve watched enough shows from both countries. American storytellers tend to cater to the shorter attention span so those stories are more about the action and less character development. In an American film about a bank robbery, most of the story focuses on the robbery. A British film would follow the planning of the robbery and the consequences afterwards. Another trend I also found interesting is how British storytellers could create off-beat characters, often with some quirk or gimmick, and yet not get lost in their own weirdness. Examples like The Avengers, The Saint, Lovejoy. Mindhorn had one of his eyes replaced with a cybernetic implant that can “see” lies. This never really comes into play.
Mindhorn is more about Richard Thorncroft, the actor, dealing with life as a Tier Z level actor against the backdrop of a murder investigation. The mood of the film is actually quite lighthearted. British comedies aren’t as “in your face” as American ones. There’s a respect for the audience’s intelligence. It’s not a wall-to-wall chuckle-fest and I liked that about Mindhorn. It has a nice internal self-deprecation. The story moves along fairly quickly with Mindhorn (Thorncroft) dealing more with trying to recapture his glory than solving anything. The plot is still in motion smoothly behind the scenes. It’s a charming romp.
If you like British shows or just a witty and tongue firmly buried in cheek story, give Mindhorn a try. And that’s the truth.