Robert Carlyle’s Directorial Debut, ‘The Legend of Barney Thomson,’ Opens July 24 in the UK

No word yet if “The Legend of Barney Thomson” will hit other theaters.

Photo of Thomson Road Sign
Where will Barney appear next? Photos: Pat Cuadros

How fortunate if you’re living in the UK right now, because cinemas nationwide will release “The Legend of Barney Thomson” tomorrow. Robert Carlyle (“Once Upon a Time,” “Trainspotting”) stars in the titular role as the hapless Scottish barber, who is thrust into the world of serial killing. The black comedy recently had its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, of which Carlyle is an Honorary Patron. He also makes his first leap into film directing with this project, though he’s no stranger to working behind-the-scenes in theater and television.

Other talented actors round out the cast of “Barney Thomson.” Interestingly enough, Emma Thompson secured the role of Cemolina, Barney’s mother of questionable sanity. However, she’s only a couple of years older than Carlyle. Leave it to her magnificent skill as an actress and the power of makeup to tie her portrayal together wonderfully. Ray Winstone is Inspector Holdall, a somewhat reluctant detective on the case, lamenting that being in the police force didn’t turn out as flashy as television trumped it up to be.

“The Legend of Barney Thomson” is a film adaptation of Douglas Lindsay’s The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson, first out of a series of 7 books. Lindsay is effective at getting readers into the heads of his Glaswegian characters. Barney Thomson, of course, is the primarily focus of this psychological study of sorts, with no shortage of dark and funny thoughts that usually didn’t go past his own imagination.

Will Robert Carlyle’s version be successful at capturing that energy and comedic brilliance? One also wonders if Carlyle will continue on with the other books, should his first venture generate a sizable revenue at the box office. There’s still no indication as to whether the film will hit other markets, but the film festival season is still underway, leaving more time for distribution companies to promote it.

I have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of Barney. If you’re in the UK, be sure to check out “The Legend of Barney Thomson” in the coming days.

Author: Pat Cuadros

TV & Film Blogger @blogcritics

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