2 July 2018

Once Upon a Time in the Midlands


Once Upon a Time in the Midlands
  • Director: Shane Meadows
  • Based on the novel: no
  • Cast: Robert Carlyle, Shirley Henderson, Rhys Ifans, Kathy Burke, Ricky Tomlinson, Finn Atkins
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Robert Carlyle – Stargate Universe, Stone of Destiny, 28 weeks Later, Flood, Hitler, Black and White, The World Is Not Enough, The Full Monty, Hamish Macbeth, Carla’s Song, Trainspotting, Go Now, Riff-Raff
    • Shirley Henderson – Filth, Life Suring Wartime, Doctor Who, The Taming of the Shrew Re-told, Harry Potter, Tristram Shandy, 24 Hour Party People, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Topsy-Turvy, Hamish Macbeth, Trainspotting, Rob Roy
    • Rhys Ifans – Harry Potter, The Boat that Rocked, Elizabeth the Golden Age, The Shipping News, Notting Hill
    • Kathy Burke – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky, Elizabeth, Nil by Mouth, Absolutely Fabulous, Sid and Nancy
    • Ricky Tomlinson – Riff-Raff
  • Why? Robert Carlyle
  • Seen: 29 June 2018      

       Jimmy (Carlyle) is watching one of those TV shows where family members are brought together unexpectedly: his sister Carol (Burke) being sung to by her cowboy singer wannabe boyfriend Charlie (Tomlinson), his (Jimmy’s) daughter Marlene (Atkins) and ex-sweetheart Shirley (Henderson) who is being proposed to by current boyfriend Dek (Ifans). We then follow these people in their daily lives. Carol, harried, overweight, bingo-playing, bartending mother of an unclear number of kids. Shirley and Dek declaring their undying love for one another despite the humiliatingly public ‘no’. Pony-tailed Jimmy and friends in Glasgow robbing some …clowns?
       It’s one of these bittersweet, sad-funny British comedies with a cast of all those lovely actors. I’m confused though. Who are we meant to cheer for in this love triangle? Dek, the Good-Hearted Loving Dork, or Jimmy, the Runaway, Charming, Suffering Bad Boy. Me, I vote for Carlyle but they’re both twats. In fact, I vote for Shirley, she should dump them both.
       It’s too much of a cliché love story to take to one’s heart. It’s too silly in the beginning to take seriously in the end. Still, it is Carlyle, Henderson, Burke and Ifans.
       Conclusion: story no, actors yes. Like the movie we watched last night, these actors deserve a better movie.

2 ½ * of 5


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