ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE MIDLANDS (2002) [Feature]

UK (MIFF 2003 , International Panorama)
Director: Shane Meadows

With a powerhouse cast that includes Robert Carlyle and Rhys Ifans, MIFF regular Shane Meadows (A Room for Romeo Brass, 2000) returns with his typically skewed look at the world. This time he takes a classically generic Western premise—a dark stranger rambles into town and attempts to take back his woman—and transposes it smack bang in the middle of England.

Dek (Ifans) is a fairly uptight car-repair supervisor, who shares a house with Shirley and her 12-year-old daughter Marlene. Appearing on a national TV show, Dek proposes to his Shirley only to have his offer knocked back. To make matters worse, Shirley's ex-boyfriend, and Marlene's father Jimmy (Carlyle), a wanted criminal, has rolled into town, intent on wowing back his old flame. The stage is set for a showdown on the grimy back streets of Nottingham.

With a knowing wink to Sergio Leone's masterworks, and Mike Leigh's bitter social comedies, Meadows has created an inventive film full of engaging characters, providing plenty of laughs.

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