A cracking wee film, chock full of great Scottish humour with just a touch of cockney banter via Mr Raymond Winstone. The Legend of Barney Thomson (2015), which opened the 2015 Edinburgh International Film Festival to great acclaim, is based on Douglas Lindsay's novel The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson and was adapted for the screen by Richard Cowan. It has the distinction of being directed by Maryhill born Robert Carlyle who also takes the title role.
|A charisma bi-pass and no patter....|
Barney works in a local family run barber shop in the Bridgeton area of Glasgow’s East End, and is described by his colleges has having a charisma bi-pass and accused of not having one of the most essential qualifications of a Glasgow barber - patter! He worships his mother, a rather colourful and outspoken character that shares the same name, although spelt different, with the rather dreadful pudding that you may remember being served up at school diners! Played with obvious relish by Emma Thompson, Cemolina Thomson is certainly one of the highlights of this movie, as is the afore mentioned Ray Winstone who plays the Glasgow hating London policemen Detective Inspector Holdall.
Life for Barney Thomson consists of boring mediocrity, that is until one particularly dark day his boss, Wullie Henderson (Stephen McCole), tells him that the family has decided to let him go. Incensed by this unexpected announcement he accidentally kills Wullie! Meanwhile in another part of Glasgow our cockney police inspector and his long suffering sidekick are investigating, none to successfully, a series of murders that have become known as 'the body part killings' the reason is that the thoughtful killer sends a victims body part to the dead persons relative’s as a keepsake! It's when the investigation overlaps with the disappearance of the deceased Wullie that Barney's life becomes less mundane.
This is a brilliantly gruesome black comedy I had the great pleasure of actually seeing in Glasgow and comparing it to the dross showing elsewhere in the multiplex is head and shoulders above anything else on release at this particular time and certainly should not be missed. A love letter to a great Scottish city from one of its best-known sons.