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Warm tale of love, hate and failure in the suburbs

Shane Meadows, the director of TwentyFourSeven and A Room for Romeo Brass, has returned after three years with the final part of what he calls his Midlands Trilogy. It will be, he claims, his last film made in Nottingham for some time. Which is something of a shame for beneath Meadows’ deceptively simple tales of love, hate and failure in the suburbs there lies a deep warmth to this young director’s work.

When petty criminal Jimmy (Robert Carlyle) sees his childhood sweetheart and ex, Shirley (Shirley Henderson), on the Vanessa Feltz show, he decides to take the proceeds of a bungled robbery and travel down from Glasgow to win her back from her geekish boyfriend Dek (Rhys lfans). There are, however, a few obstacles in the way for the avenging ‘cowboy’. First, there’s his 12-year-old daughter Marlene, who prefers Dek to him. Then there’s his crazy step sister (Kathy Burke) and her estranged C&W- obsessed husband Charlie (Ricky Tomlinson). There will have to be a showdown.

Meadows directs his all~star cast with skill, calcifying the pebble dashed windy streets of Calder in Nottingham into an amalgam of a Western staging post. He has learnt from the best most notably Mike Leigh’s Meantime and Alan Clarke’s Rita, Sue and Bob Too that the best domestic stories are those that are told with simplicity and emotion. Moments in this film can be clawing, not least the treacIe-ambushed ending, but Meadows aim is true and compared to his UK filmmaking contemporaries he is the Goliath with a tender heart. (Paul Dale)

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