- Actors: Shane Meadows, Mat Hand, Dena Smiles
- Directors: Shane Meadows
- Format: Dolby, PAL, Colour, Anamorphic, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Region: All Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: Bfi
- DVD Release Date: 18 Oct. 2010
- Run Time: 71 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- ASIN: B0041HJVWQ
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,847 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Small Time and Where's the Money Ronnie!  [DVD]
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SMALL TIME and WHERE'S THE MONEY RONNIE!
Two films by Shane Meadows
Acclaimed British director Shane Meadow's (Dead Man's Shoes, This is England) assured debut feature Small Time is a tale of petty crime in the suburbs of Nottingham, starring Meadows himself as Jumbo, leader of a band of small-time crooks.
Featuring energetic handheld camera work, brilliant comic dialogue and a host of ironic film references, Small Time clearly reveals Meadows' flair for larger-than-life characters and ability to extract accomplished, semi-improvised performances from talented non-professionals.
Also included is Where's the Money Ronnie!, Shane Meadows' short film homage to Kurosawa's Rashomon, which offers four different views of a robbery.
UK | 1996 | colour | English, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 71 minutes | DVD5 | Original aspect ratio 1.78:1 (16x9 anamorphic) | Region 0 PAL DVD
'A gritty-witty collision of Tarantino. Loach and Leigh' --Evening Standard
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They are next-door neighbours as well as old pals, but their friendship is strained when the two have to face reality and accept that they are grown up now, with girlfriends and responsibilities. Malc seems happy to embrace maturity but isn't quite strong willed enough to knock back the constant presence of Jumbo - who despite his tough exterior seems riddled with insecurities.
Shane Meadows has a great knack of tapping into male anxiety. Jumbo should be a hideous character with his scheming ways and domestic violence towards the mother of his child - but instead of being a monster, you can't help but pity him. Jumbo is played by Shame Meadows himself and it's a superb performance, in fact - all the performances are top notch in this film and even the more humourous moments are completely believable because of the realism portrayed by the characters. Meadow's genius is to create a set of characters on screen which never feel as though they are simply roles being acted out, they look and sound natural. The dialogue sounds like it has been secretly recorded from actual conversations in living rooms and tea-rooms around Nottingham. Characters interact in the same way you see in real life, something you rarely see in Hollywood films where every effort is made to remove you from reality, here everyone feels as though they exist outside of the film and that draws you in - you care about them and want to see what they are doing.
As well as the main feature, short film "Where's the Money Ronnie?" is included on this disk too. It's a great short film and you can see how it lays the foundations for Small time and other Meadows' films. The black and white short packs more characterisation into its 12 minutes than many 90 minute films manage to. This DVD may be short on additional features, but the inclusion of this makes the release a must-have purchase for fans of British cinema.
In a nutshell: Lovers of gritty realism will appreciate the way within an hour a series of characters are given incredible depth. Human beings are complex and have their own personal philosophies, and you get a sense of that in Small Time. It's often funny, sometimes uncomfortable, but always compulsive. I would have given 'Small Time' four stars, but bundled with the brilliant "Where's the Money Ronnie?" I'd struggle to give this anything less than five.
For Smalltime, Meadows cast himself in the lead role of Jumbo, a somewhat misogynistic yobbo with few redeeming features, as the leader of the small-time gang of would-be robbers, together with a number of other first-time actors (most of whom were personal friends of Meadows). Acting-wise, the film is nothing remarkable - as is perhaps evidenced by the fact that Meadows cast none of his Smalltime actors in lead roles in any of his follow-up features - Dena Smiles as Kate delivers, for me, the most convincing performance of Meadows' first-time cast. Narrative-wise, the film is all over the place for the first 30 minutes or so, but the final sequences surrounding the attempted robbery just about lift the film into something more than a rather uninspired mess. In particular, there is evidence here of Meadows' masterly touch (brilliantly demonstrated in much of his later work) of fitting an inspired soundtrack to his films - Meadows' long time acquaintance Gavin Clarke wrote a number of songs for the film, taking the form of a number of up-tempo small band compositions and (best of all) a couple of typically evocative and heartfelt acoustic ballads (as Clarke repeated so effectively for Meadows' later film Somers Town).
Overall then, a very mixed affair but with notable signs of promise.
Also, all the cast members, including Meadows himself, are wearing really bad wigs!
This is more of a lark with his mates rather than a serious piece of cinema but if you are a fan of his films I suppose this is a good addition to your collection.
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