Once Upon a Time in the Midlands - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Once Upon a Time in the Midlands Reviews

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May 19, 2018
I've not visited this film for a few years.
I can see why. It plays more like a television series than a film. The ingredients of a decent film are there in terms of a British cast.
Well known talent like Robert Carlyle, Ricky Tomlinson and Kathy Burke as well as mutterings of Reeves and Mortimer, the UK comic duo.
The music at times is meant to resemble the spaghetti western of similar name.
Robert Carlyle plays a Glasweigan hot head that immediately reminded me of his role as Begbie in the Trainspotting films.
The Trainspotting connection also continues with other casting.
Director Shane Meadows is known for making films in his Nottingham home. This movie is such an example.
The backbone of the film is the relationship history of Robert Carlyle (Jimmy) his 'ex' partner Shirley (Shirley Henderson) and her current partner Dek (Rhys Ifans).
The film does have some mildly comedic moments of quite shocking events but the film was average in my eyes.
A film to stay in the archives perhaps.
July 11, 2017
The plot was a bit out there but I actually really enjoyed this movie. Maybe that's because I am familiar with being an exiled Scot in England though!
May 13, 2017
nice drama with a great cast. some good acting but doesn't really go anywhere.
½ August 22, 2016
Plotnoodle irrelevance.
August 7, 2015
Way too simplistic, way too anti-climactic. I liked all the characters, and the actors are really fun to watch interact (the interplay between Burke and Tomlinson feels very genuine), but there's really nothing in the antagonists (Jimmy is a cartoon of an evil ex-boyfriend; the Scottish criminals are harmless buffoons), so there's not much conflict and the whole thing feels inconsequential by the end.
May 22, 2015
As talented as this cast is, Shane Meadows' film comes to its resolutions far too easily and neatly to be believed. It is really too bad because this had the makings of a good movie.
February 5, 2015
A comedy drama that isn't funny or dramatic enough to surpass even moderate expectations. The director Shane Meadows appears to relish depicting the working class, but here his characters largely come across like one dimensional Viz cartoon strips, only not as comically pleasing, yet at the same time just as stereotypical. The cast is made up of a strong British cast from all corners of the country, but the slightly soap opera style writing is never quite good enough meaning no one ever gets the chance to shine. There are some amusing parts toward the first half, but the maudlin and trite closing sequence is enough to make me never want to watch this ever again.
January 17, 2015
Fun, subtle comedy with the added bonus of Carlyle in leather and long hair playing the bad boy you hate to love.
½ March 21, 2013
Despite a great performance from Rhys Ifans and a decent cast on the whole, dosnt quite get out of second gear as a drama and seems a bit seen-before and safe, certainly compared to Shane Meadows other efforts. As a screenplay it feels undercooked and the Western-traces feel vague. Robert Caryle and Shirley Henderson feel subdued in performance and character, and the presence of Ricky Tomlinson and Kathy Burke as well known British faces takes the subtety away. Watchable but not essential.
½ March 2, 2013
This could have been better, great cast, but not much story. Kathy Burke was funny as always, Rhys Ifans, Ricky Tomlinson and Robert Carlisle all played their parts well, but I just felt like it was lacking something. Dry British drama.
December 30, 2012
Directed by Shane Meadows, who had shown gritty yet hopeful sides to life in Twenty Four Seven (1997) and A Room for Romeo Brass (1999)), he opted to do something a bit different, but keeping it grounded in his hometown of Nottingham. While Meadows' previous films had been smaller and contained, this has widescreen cinematography, and it feels like a big production, even though it was done on a shoestring. When petty thief Jimmy (Robert Carlyle) see's his ex-girlfriend Shirley (Shirley Henderson) being proposed to on TV by Dek (Rhys Ifans), Jimmy travels from Glasgow to Nottingham, where he spent most of his childhood in a foster home with 'sister' Carol (Kathy Burke). Jimmy and Shirley had a daughter together Marlene (Finn Atkins), and Jimmy wants to win her back and start afresh, but Shirley and Marlene won't give in. Jimmy has support from old friend and country & western singer Charlie (Ricky Tomlinson), however some of Jimmy's associates from Glasgow turn up in Nottingham. It has good intentions, referencing westerns, down to the music and camera angles. But, it's a bit too polished by Meadows standards, he would return to grittier fare with Dead Man's Shoes (2004) and This is England (2006). As an experiment, it has varying effects, but Meadows was still finding his feet at the time.
½ October 24, 2012
Robert Carlyle's showtime.
October 31, 2011
Brilliant film, very funny.started out hating dek characters cause he was such a wet fish and loving jimmy character. Then at the end i couldn't help but will jimmy to bugger off and dek to get the family back together. Well worth a watch loved it.
September 8, 2011
amazing how Rhys Ifans always play characters you wanna smack in the face
Super Reviewer
May 27, 2011
Shane Meadows is without doubt, one of the best British directors around at present. He knows his way around the working class lifestyle of Britain with a welcome and refreshing outlook that has, until his arrival, been commandeered by the likes of Ken Loach and Mike Leigh.
Waking up in a drunken haze Glaswegian crook Jimmy (Robert Carlyle) sees his ex, Shirley (Shirley Henderson), being proposed to on a daytime TV chat show. She spurns the proposal of Dek (Rhys Ifans) live on air, leading Jimmy to head back to his old town to claim back Shirley and his young daughter (Finn Atkins), that he left behind years ago.
After "TwentyFourSeven" and "A Room for Romeo Brass", this completes Shane Meadows' so called 'midlands trilogy' and with the actors involved, this has an abundance of quality. Despite this though, it's the weakest of the trilogy. That's not to say that there's nothing to enjoy, there is, and its plentiful. It just seems a bit too lighthearted in comparison with Meadows' other films. The excellent actors involved put in fine performances. Ifans and particularly Carlyle are two of the best in the business; Henderson is one of the most underated of actresses, deserving of far more attention and adding Kathy Burke and Ricky Tomlinson for some mild comic relief is always welcome. However, with this undoubted talent onscreen, it only makes it more frustrating that they aren't pushed to the extent that they're capable of. I suppose this is down to Meadows prefering a more humourous approach and if you're aware of this beforehand then you might not feel as disappointed with the lack of danger that he normally applies to certain characters. His use of a spaghetti western theme throughout a 'kitchen-sink' family drama is a wonderful touch though.
A good little comedy/drama that certainly entertains but it lacks any real emotional punch and should have made more of the fine ensemble of actors. Meadows' most impressive cast, yet strangely, one of his least impressive films.
½ April 3, 2011
Starts well but doesn't quite go the distance.
½ March 31, 2011
really good film.
didnt think i would like it but surprisingly i did.
sum really funny scenes.
good cast.
½ March 31, 2011
Meadow's juxtaposition of a familiar Western theme into the East Midlands is hardly challenging on the brain, but its TV-like lack of gloss makes it a good way to pass an idle 100 minutes. Another film that confirms what a toweringly good actor Rhys Ifans is, too.
March 12, 2011
Shane Meadows is one of my favourite directors and this is one of his older films that I have only just got around to watching. It feels quite different from his other films, you see flashes of the director he is today but there is certainly something missing. Even so, it is still an enjoyable film.
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