Once upon a Time in the Midlands

Once upon a Time in the Midlands

Shane Meadows (2002)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Full of familiar Britpic faces and spaghetti western references, Shane Meadows's third feature opens with promise and panache. However, once petty crook Robert Carlyle arrives in Nottingham to prevent ex-wife Shirley Henderson from marrying garage boss Rhys Ifans, the Leone tone is replaced by a diluted brand of Ken Loach realism, in which quips and slapstick leaven the underlying atmosphere of aggression and despair. Consequently, the story loses momentum, minor characters are marginalised in favour of introspection and the dénouement winds up more a letdown than a showdown. Knowingly filmed and scored - and acted with aplomb - this is ultimately undone by its laudable ambition.


A Glaswegian crook heads for Nottingham after seeing his ex-wife humiliate her boyfriend on daytime television, determined that he should win back her heart. Shane Meadows' comedy, starring Robert Carlyle, Rhys Ifans, Shirley Henderson, Kathy Burke and Ricky Tomlinson.

Cast & Crew

Jimmy Robert Carlyle
Dek Rhys Ifans
Carol Kathy Burke
Shirley Shirley Henderson
Charlie Ricky Tomlinson
Marlene Finn Atkins
Vanessa Vanessa Feltz
Plonko the clown Vic Reeves
Kung fu clown Bob Mortimer
Bingo caller Shane Meadows
Director Shane Meadows
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Film FourGuidance: Contains violence and swearing. Available on: video and DVDReleased on: 6 Sep 2002