Once Upon A Time in the Midlands

Director: Shane Meadows
Year: 2002
Country: UK
Running time: 100 mins
Screenplay: Paul Fraser, Shane Meadows
Photography: Brian Tufano
Editors: Peter Beston, Trevor Waite

With: Robert Carlyle, Rhys Ifans, Kathy Burke, Shirley Henderson, Ricky Tomlinson

Festivals: Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight), Edinburgh, Toronto 2002
“No one can accuse Shane Meadows of being anything other than a director of small gems. His bittersweet fictions are as addictive as pop songs. As the title suggests, Once Upon a Time in the Midlands puts a playful English spin on the idea of a western. There’s a cheeky twang to the soundtrack, and Brian Tufano’s photography creates deserts out of empty urban sprawls and dead-end streets. Again he probes the anguish of estranged fathers and fractured suburban families that haunted his last two films, TwentyFourSeven and A Room for Romeo Brass. But there’s a fresh, improvised feel about this that makes the story feel sharper than usual. Robert Carlyle plays a Glaswegian hardman who drifts back to reclaim his wife (Shirley Henderson) and 12-year-old daughter. But Henderson has taken up with Rhys Ifans’ geeky car mechanic…” — James Christopher, The Times.

“A marvelously involving family saga… Brit social realism meets the spaghetti Western – and the former wins.” — Derek Elley, Variety

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