Reviews of movies, music, books and more by David Goody.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

DVD: Once Upon A Time In The Midlands

Once Upon A Time In The Midlands bills itself as a tinned spaghetti western. It could also bill itself as awarding British director Shane Meadows attempt to make a jolly mainstream film. Yet despite the number of billings you could give it the film doesn't know what it is trying to be.

It starts out heavy on the Western parody with Ricky Tomlinson being a country music obsessed father and Robert Carlyle being the stranger with trouble not far behind him blowing into town. However the pace and energy of the knockabout opening soon dissipates into a turgid kitchen sink drama with the characters too stereotypical to draw the audiences sympathy.

The profusion of faces from British TV only aid the feeling of the script creating archetypes rather than full drawn characters whilst the jokes are too sparse to make this an effective comedy. Whilst a film that deals with common British life is something that should be welcomed, Once Upon A Time In The Midlands is a misfire in director Shane Meadows cannon. Thankfully he has since found his footing with Dead Man's Shoes.