Run time: 95mins

Director: Robert Carlyle


Cast: Robert Carlyle, Emma Thompson, Ray Winstone, James Cosmo, Tom Courtenay, Ashley Jensen, Martin Compston, Stephen McCole, Brian Pettifer, Barbara Rafferty, Eileen McCallum


Synopsis:  A darkly-humorous, Glasgow-set thriller that tells the story of awkward barber Barney, who inadvertently stumbles into serial murder. Complicating matters, Barney’s mother has a secret of her own, setting off a bloody chain of events. While Barney tries to cover their tracks, local police inspector Holdall fights his own battles within his inept homicide department as he tries to solve the crime of the century.



Robert Carlyle (28 Weeks Later, 2007; Trainspotting, 1996; The Full Monty, 1997; Hamish Macbeth, BBC) has chosen the black comic novels of Douglas Lindsay as the basis of his directorial debut, in which he also stars as the eponymous protagonist.

Barney Thomson, awkward, diffident, Glasgow barber, lives a life of desperate mediocrity but his uninteresting life dramatically takes a touch of the Sweeney Todds as he enters the grotesque and comically absurd world of the serial killer.

In an introductory voice-over Barney tells the viewer: ‘This is the story of what happens when you move chairs.’ Barney may have a prime chair position in the old world Glasgow East barber shop, but he has no patter and is often downright rude to customers.  When his boss fires him – events take a deadly turn.

Meanwhile at the police headquarters crisis meetings are taking place about a serial killer on the loose who is posting in grisly body parts. A Cockney detective Holdall (Ray Winstone) has failed to turn up any leads and his job is threatened by a woman DI Robertson (Ashley Jensen).

Barney’s grotesque, bingo addicted, chain smoking, dragon of a mother, Cemolina (Emma Thomson) is running his life and his only friend, Charlie (Brian Pettifer) is fairly useless.

Carlyle has assembled a strong ensemble for this very dark character comedy in which the East End Glasgow location is also a major character. With its striking visual elegance The Legend of Barney Thomson is an impressive directorial debut from a favourite local actor.

Images courtesy of Icon 


Robert Carlyle & Emma Thompson in THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMPSON, in cinemas 24th July

Robert Carlyle & Emma Thompson in THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMPSON, in cinemas 24th July