Festivals · Movies

The Legend of Barney Thomson


Edinburgh International Film Festival


Last night was the opening gala of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, the film chosen to open being The Legend of Barney Thomson, directed by and starring Robert Carlyle.

It’s pretty good and has every chance of being a really big film on release, a black comedy very much in the style of Tarantino both in narrative, direction and even sound.  All the sorts of characters and a lot of the actual actors beloved of the audience which made The Full Monty or Richard Curtis’ films such big hits are in place; the stock Scottish underdog figures are also there (the film is set in Glasgow,) but not as objectionable as in the inexplicably popular The Angels’ Share.

As well as Carlyle, Ray Winstone and Tom Courtenay, the film stars a pretty good crop of current Scottish actors, a lot of whom were present for last night’s premier; Ashley Jensen, Martin Compston and the great Brian Pettifer.

I think a lot will be made of Emma Thompson’s co-starring role as Barney Thomson’s mother; she’s made up to look like a Glasgow woman in her late sixties who’s had a bit of a rough life.  Now, everybody loves Emma Thompson, (whatever it is she does?) but most of the joke here is that we are always aware we are watching Emma Thompson playing a rough, old Glasgow woman, so it doesn’t really work.


Legend of Barney Thompson
The Legend of Barney Thompson, starring Robert Carlyle, Emma Thompson & Ray Winstone

Apart from that cavil, all good; Chewin’ the Fat meets Reservoir Dogs at The Barrowlands bingo hall.


Robert Carlyle Edinburgh International Film Festival

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