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The Legend of Barney Thomson

Directed by Robert Carlyle

UK, 2015

HOME, 26 July 2015

The Legend of Barney Thomson

The film has a definite sense of  style,  quotidian, gaudy and ever so slightly gothic, due to the locales and the colouring and the story, which  holds your attention, no worries.

Then there is Robert Carlyle’s lead performance, his portrait of a sad bastard who’s a spectator in his own life, poor sod. Things just happen to him. A fellow by name of Ray Winstone gives a good showing an’ all – as a London cop who’s up North, not from round here, here being the city of Glasgow. It is Emma Thompson as Barney’s mum who astounds most, mind. She is so good, so convincing, so on the money, I didn’t realise even that it was her until the credits came at the end. ‘What the fuck?’ I thought , in character and keeping with the film. For there is an awful lot of profanity here – should you give a fuck, that is.

Despite all the pleasure that the film gave me – and it is a black, black comedy and I laughed a fair bit of the time – I felt it could have been even better. Some of it was sit-com material, while other scenes made one think of Hogg or Stevenson.That allusion to Taggart, for example, is an indication of small ambition. Will people pick up on it in 50 years’time? And this could have been a film that people will want to see 50 years from now; who knows, maybe they will.

Anyway, this is a good (could have been great, in my opinion) debut from Robert Carlyle as director. He should do more.