Fans of Robert Carlyle, gruesome murders, and indecipherable Glaswegian slang will find much to enjoy in The Legend of Barney Thomson, which plays as a Caledo­nian Sweeney Todd.

With greased-back mullet and a perpetual rictus of guilt before he’s done anything wrong, Carlyle—also making his directorial debut—plays the demon barber here. Our titular antihero grumbles that he “ne’er had a kick at the can”. Indeed, Barney has the worst chair at a sad hair-chopping shop in the worst part of Glasgow. And things go pear-shaped when he accidentally kills his boss just as he’s about to get sacked.

Barney’s something of a mama’s lad, and the movie really could be called The Legend of Emma Thompson. Yes, the versatile Brit (exactly two years older than Carlyle) plays his chain-smoking mum, seen here in Jiminy Glick makeup. He goes to her for help, with a body in his car trunk, but she’s more interested in getting a ride to see her friends. “Maybe you didnae hear me,” she spits. “It’s ma bingo night!”

Meanwhile, local police are looking for a serial killer, and a detective from down south (the great Ray Winstone) latches on to the hapless Barney, whose idea of joking around with coppers is to say “It’s not like I stabbed him with a pair of scissors or anythin’.”

Among the constabulary there’s also Tom Courtenay as a chief superintendent who can only remember numbers, not names, and Ashley Jensen as the kind of ball-busting female DCI often found in U.K. crime flicks. Not that anyone is allowed a shred of dignity in this breezy tour of hideous housing estates and sorry chip shops. Underscored by its typically ironic use of 1950s pop songs, the film goes for easy targets and hits them with moderately convincing gusto.

Read the review here.