Once Upon a Time in the Midlands | Chicago Reader

Once Upon a Time in the Midlands

This down-to-earth comedy by UK indie filmmaker Shane Meadows (TwentyFourSeven) often seems like a Mike Leigh movie viewed in a fun-house mirror: his modest working-class characters are so genuine that he can get away with having one of them, a two-bit hood played by Robert Carlyle, take part in a botched carjacking against a trio of birthday clowns. Years after abandoning his lover (Shirley Henderson), Carlyle spots her on a tabloid talk show turning down a surprise marriage proposal from her mopey boyfriend (Rhys Ifans) and returns to Nottingham to reclaim her. Meadows and coscreenwriter Paul Fraser coined the spaghetti-western title as a droll comment on the romantic rivals' extended showdown, and one of their quirkier characters is a country-and-western fanatic (Ricky Tomlinson) who strums his guitar at a local pub. But their western motif finds its subtlest expression in the movie's suburban desert of empty streets and dreary tract housing. 104 min.


Cast information not available at this time.

What others are saying

  • Add a review


    Select a star to rate.