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Barney’s serial killer style is worth an appointment at Royston’s Picture Palace

PUBLISHED: 21:10 08 September 2015

Robert Carlyle and Emma Thompson in The Legend of Barney Thompson

Robert Carlyle and Emma Thompson in The Legend of Barney Thompson

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If you’re a big name actor who decides to have a go at directing, the project will usually be guaranteed plenty of pre-publicity.

And if you’re a big-name actor who can call on lots of his pals to get involved and add a little stardust to the cast list, there will be even more advance chat in the cinema world.

But the sad fact of a cruelly commercial industry is that, if the money men don’t reckon your pet project is going to put bums on seats, it doesn’t matter how many superstars are slumming it in a low-budget thriller – it’s not going to earn a multiplex slot and it’s going to pretty much sink without trace.

That was the fate for The Legend Of Barney Thompson, the directorial debut of Robert Carlyle which premiered this year’s Edinburgh Festival but failed to make much of a splash anywhere else.

That’s a shame, because this black comedy – which also features Carlyle in the lead role of a dour Glasgow barber who stumbles into a sideline as a serial killer – has all the makings of a cult classic.

And as it’s based on the first of a series of books by Douglas Lindsay, there’s plenty more material about our scissors-wielding anti-hero to provide a string of sequels if the demand is there.

The plot is completely daft but put across with conviction by the cast, which also includes Emma Thompson as his senior citizen prostitute mum – she’s only two years older than her director but the make-up and wig department go to town – Ray Winstone as a London copper who gets involved in the hunt and Tom Courtenay as the police chief in charge of the case.

The film is showing at 7.30pm on Friday night at Royston’s Picture Palace – visit www.roystonpicturepalace.org.uk to reserve your tickets.

Saturday night’s screening, again at 7.30pm, is also a comedy, allegedly. A big enough hit will always demand a sequel, which justifies another outing for Seth MacFarlane’s crude talking teddy bear turn in Ted 2.

The Family Guy creator calls all the shots and provides the bear’s voice once more, Mark Wahlberg is back as his inadequate human sidekick, and the plot revolves around Ted’s urge to start a family despite the obvious issues – after all, he is married to a woman, not a lady bear.

If you’re no fan of MacFarlane’s puerile comedy you can always play spot the star cameo – as well as Amanda Seyfried higher up the cast list, you can catch Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, David Hasselhoff and others.

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