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Barney Thomson (2015)

The Legend of Barney Thomson (original title)
Unrated | | Comedy, Crime | 24 July 2015 (UK)
1:51 | Trailer
Barney Thomson (Robert Carlyle), awkward, diffident, Glasgow, Scotland barber, lives a life of desperate mediocrity and his uninteresting life is about to go from 0 to 60 in five seconds, as he enters the grotesque and comically absurd world of the serial killer.


Robert Carlyle


Douglas Lindsay (based on the book "The Long Midnight of Barney Thompson"), Richard Cowan (adapted for the screen by) | 2 more credits »
4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Carlyle ... Barney Thomson
Emma Thompson ... Cemolina
Ray Winstone ... Detective Inspector Holdall
Tom Courtenay ... Chief Superintendent McManaman
Ashley Jensen ... Detective Inspector June Robertson
Brian Pettifer ... Charlie Taylor
Kevin Guthrie ... Detective Inspector Callum MacPherson
James Cosmo ... James Henderson
Stephen McCole ... Wullie Henderson
Martin Compston ... Chris Porter
Samuel Robertson ... Detective Sergeant Sam Jobson
Anne Downie Anne Downie ... Lizzie
Ann Scott-Jones Ann Scott-Jones ... Theresa
Eileen McCallum Eileen McCallum ... Mrs. Gaffney
Matt Costello Matt Costello ... Chris' Creepy Neighbour
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Barney Thomson (Robert Carlyle) is a sad sack of a man. He identifies himself mostly as a barber, Hendersons' Barbers in a working class neighborhood of Glasgow, Scotland, where he's worked for twenty years. More introspective than extroverted, which does not work well for the business, he has fewer and fewer customers, and as such his current boss, Wullie Henderson (Stephen McCole), son of the retired owner James Henderson (James Cosmo), who originally hired him, is moving him further and further away from the spotlight of the shop. Meanwhile, five men so far have been killed by who the general public is nicknaming the "Body Parts Killer," as the murderer sends through the post body parts of the victims to the victims' loved ones. Lead investigator, Detective Inspector Holdall (Ray Winstone), assisted by Detective Inspector Callum MacPherson (Kevin Guthrie), is no closer now to discovering the Body Parts Killer's identity than when the murders started two months ago. Wanting results,... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Now a Major Motion Picture See more »


Comedy | Crime


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This is Robert Carlyle's first movie as a director. He previously directed an episode of Stargate Universe (2009). See more »


When Barney is in the kitchen he leaves an arm on the side. When he sits at the table the arm is no longer there but when he gets up its there again. See more »


Wullie: You look like a haunted tree.
See more »


Blue Bayou
Performed by Roy Orbison
See more »

User Reviews

Great performances with a sketchy storyline! 5/10
22 November 2015 | by leonblackwoodSee all my reviews

Review: This movie definitely has a unique but weird storyline with some brilliant performances from the cast, especially Emma Thompson and Ray Winstone. It's hard to explain the plot without spoiling it for the people who haven't watched it but I will give it a go! The story takes place in Glasgow and it's about a barber called Barney (Robert Carlyle), who has very little people skills and finds it hard to chat to the customers who come to the shop for there haircut. After a while, the shop owner decides to employ a fresh new barber who is willing to interact with the customers, so he eventually sacks Barney who takes the news quite badly because he hasn't got any other forms of pleasure in his life. Whilst pleading to stay employed with the shop owner, a random accident happens which changes Barney's life forever. He runs to his mum, Cemolina (Emma Thompson), for help, only to find that she also has many skeletons in her closet as well. Whilst under investigation from the hot headed cop Holdall (Ray Winstone), he tries to cover his tracks from the fatal accident that happened with his boss but his work colleague works out what Barney has been up to, so they also have an heated argument which leads to another fatal accident. Anyway, to cut a long story short, Barney disposes the bodies with the cops hot on his tale but they soon work out who is the true culprit of the murders in the area, which leads to a showdown that really isn't what was expected! If you take this movie seriously, you really won't enjoy it because the far fetched storyline really does go a bit over the top in places. Although Barney had a motif for the first murder, he should have just gone to the police because it was an honest mistake, which they would have worked out with forensics. With that aside, Ray Winstone just plays his usual cockney self but he does show some true emotion in parts of the film. Emma Thompson's transformation was excellent and her accent was spot on, along with her mannerisms and "hard woman/mother" demeanor which is far from the everyday Emma Thompson that we have seen in real life. The storyline was a bit sketchy in places but this extremely dark comedy was well put together well by Robert Carlyle. The showdown at the end was a bit ridiculous and I personally thought that it spoilt the movie but it's still worth a watch, just for its originality and great performances. You might need to watch it with subtitles because Carlyle and Thompson's accents are really strong. Watchable!

Round-Up: Since his big break in Trainspotting and the highly acclaimed Full Monty, Robert Carlyle, 54, has been in and out of the spotlight with movies like Angela's Ashes, The World Is Not Enough, Plunkett & Maclean, There's Only One Jimmy Grimble, the Beach, the 51st State with Samuel L. Jackson, Eragon and 28 Weeks Later. You can tell that he's not really into the whole Hollywood glamour scene, so he seems to keep himself low key, even when he's starring in a Bond movie or big movies like the Beach with DiCaprio. This is the first major release with Carlyle in the directors chair, so I have to rate him for getting the most out of a top cast. The stupidity of Barney actions is questionable throughout the film but it's still a decent watch.

I recommend this movie to people who are into their crime/comedies starring Robert Carlyle, Emma Thompson, Ray Winstone and Tom Courtenay. 5/10

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Release Date:

24 July 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Barney Thomson See more »


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