|Once Upon a Time in the Midlands|
There's enough going on here to keep us entertained--the film is energetic and funny, with decent performances from the entire cast. But everyone looks like they're just a bit too relaxed. While Henderson and Ifans create surprisingly meaty characters, Carlyle never sinks his teeth into the character or situations. Meadows continues to show a gift for discovering teen talent; Atkins is superb, while Shim (aka Romeo Brass) has an amusing marginal role. But the overall film has a gimmicky feel, like the filmmakers were so pleased about their "tinned spaghetti western" that they forgot to make these people fully believable. It's all a bit contrived and constructed, with handy plot points that echo the structures of almost every other film you've ever seen. It's enough fun to keep us smiling sporadically throughout, even if it never becomes real enough to engage us.
dir Shane Meadows|
scr Paul Fraser, Shane Meadows
with Robert Carlyle, Rhys Ifans, Shirley Henderson, Kathy Burke, Ricky Tomlinson, Finn Atkins, James Cosmo, Andrew Shim, Kathy Thresher, Antony Strachan, David McKay, Vanessa Feltz
release UK 6.Sep.02; US 29.Aug.03
Old habits die hard. Shirley just can't resist Jimmy's charms (Carlyle and Henderson)...
|Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.|