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Once Upon A Time In The Midlands - Another touching tale of dysfunctional British life from Shane Meadows,
This review is from: Once Upon A Time In The Midlands [DVD] (DVD)
Once again writer/director turns to dysfunctional everyday family life in Britain for another touching and memorable film.
When Jimmy (Robert Carlyle) sees his ex girlfriend Shirley (Henderson) on Vanessa, he realises that he has thrown away a diamond, and sets off to the Midlands to win her back. With a fearsome reputation in the town for violence, he soon puts the wind up Shirley's new man, Dek (Ifans) and a struggle between the two men for the affections of Shirley and her daughter ensues with a mixture of tragedy and comedy.
Littered with great characters - Ricky Tomlinson as a singing cowboy, Kathy Burke (in an excellent performance) as a slightly comical everywoman, the great James Cosmo as a Scottish villain, and run through with themes of retribution and redemption so beloved of old Westerns (especially the film's namesake, Once Upon a Time in the West), Meadows has constructed a tale that takes time to examine characters, develop them and finally reach an ending that at the start of the film you would not have predicted.
The only slight duff note is, oddly enough, Robert Carlyle. This usually dependable actor fails to find any depth to his character, and just goes through the motions a little, playing his default Scottish nutcase. Apart from that, this is a great and watchable film that will amuse, move and entertain you. What more do you want? 4 stars.