Once Upon a Time in the Midlands

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Irresponsible charmer Carlyle returns to the wife and child he left behind on a Nottingham estate, partly to hide from the partners in petty crime he's just betrayed, partly with the idea of winning back his ex (Henderson) from loving but cowardly nerd Ifans. Thus the scene is set for a big showdown (hence the title and much of the music), and one of Meadows' affectionate serio-comic studies of East Midlands manners and mores. The director seems a less assured with a comparatively starry cast (Burke and Tomlinson are part of the extended family at the heart of the story) than with the unknowns of his earlier films, and the final moments fall a little flat; but on the whole his facility in shifting between mirth and menace, 'realism' and something less easily categorisable still remains marvellously evident.

Release details

Duration: 104 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Shane Meadows
Screenwriter: Paul Fraser, Shane Meadows
Cast: Robert Carlyle
Rhys Ifans
Kathy Burke
Shirley Henderson
Ricky Tomlinson
Finn Atkins
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