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The Legend Of Barney Thomson Review

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Barney (Robert Carlyle) is a hopeless, sad-sack barber who turns accidental murderer after stabbing the boss.

★★★★★

There is much to love about Robert Carlyle’s debut, not least his shunning the wet-eyed message movie so beloved of actors-turned-directors for merrily gruesome black comedy. Dripping Brylcreem and pathos, Carlyle plays Barney, a hopeless, sad-sack barber who turns accidental murderer after stabbing the boss.

Enter Ray Winstone’s alpha-ape cop, convinced he’s on the trail of Glasgow’s latest serial killer. Carlyle’s style hints at a Tartan Tarantino (Tartantino?) in a blazing first act, but the antagonistic charge eventually fades into stodgy plotting. Still, it redeems itself with a Reservoir Hoonds stand-off and an unforgettable Emma Thompson, pillaging scenery as Barney’s horrific, bingo-witch mother.

Merrily gruesome black comedy.

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