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Originally from the Midlands, Jimmy is currently living in Glasgow eking out a living as a hapless petty crook. One day, he sees his old family and friends - including his older foster sister Carol, her boyfriend/his old buddy Charlie, Jimmy's ex-wife and Carol's best friend Shirley, and Jimmy's pre-teen daughter Marlene - on a television talk show, they baring their souls to a national audience. He has not seen any of them in years. Of note on the show, Shirley rejects the marriage proposal of her slightly awkward live-in boyfriend Dek. Jimmy sees her answer to Dek as a reason to head back to the Midlands to reunite with his past, especially with Shirley and Marlene. Dek, already humiliated, is less than thrilled to see Jimmy back in their lives. In the ensuing duel between Jimmy and Dek for Shirley and Marlene's affections, others get caught up in the crossfire. Meanwhile, three of Jimmy's equally hapless crook friends from Glasgow come looking for him, Jimmy who left them high and ... Written by
`Once upon a time in the midlands' is the next instalment from Nottingham director Shane Meadows, indeed it concludes his `Nottingham trilogy' along with previous efforts `Twentyfourseven' and `A Room for Romeo Brass'
I saw this film at its world premier as part of Directors fortnight at Cannes, and I am glad to say that it surpassed all my expectations. It's a tale of a loner Jimmy (Robert Carlyle) who by chance manages to see his ex, Shirley (Shirley Henderson) on a television show turning down a proposal from her new boyfriend on national television, this prompts Jimmy to return to Nottingham and try to win her back, along with the Daughter (a brilliant debut from 12 year old Finn Atkins) he also left years previously. There's just a few problems for Jimmy on the way, Shirley's wimpy yet loving new bloke Dek (Rhys Ifans), Jimmys mouthy step sister and her wannabe country singer husband (Kathy Burke and Ricky Tomlinson) not forgetting his shady friends who pursue him down south after he rips them off after a strange robbery goes horribly wrong.
All members of the cast shine and its fun to see a `western' style angle being adopted the classic tale of a loner coming into town to win back his girl, chased by villains and ready for a final confrontation with the man who his girl is now hooked up with. I hope this film gets the exposure it deserves when its released in the UK.
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