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Where's the Money Ronnie! (1996)


Main image of Where's the Money Ronnie! (1996)
Video, black and white, 13 mins
DirectorShane Meadows
Production CompanyBig Arty
ProducerShane Meadows
ScreenplayShane Meadows
PhotographyShane Meadows
 Debbie Tuck

Cast: Jimmy Hynd (Jock of the Spoono); Mat Hand (Benny Bould); Paul Anderson (Zico Marzeti); Shane Meadows (Ronnie); John Powell (Marzeti brothers)

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Four men are interviewed by police and give their perspectives on the events that led to Ronnie killing two men.

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Where's the Money Ronnie! (1995) is the best known short film by Nottingham-based filmmaker Shane Meadows. When Meadows approached the BFI Production Board looking for funds to complete his debut feature Smalltime (1996), head of sales Dee Emerson, after seeing just 10 minutes of footage, snapped up the rights to both films, which were shown at the London Film Festival in 1996.

The film owes a debt to Akira Kurosawa's celebrated Rashomon (Japan, 1951), in which four differing perspectives are offered on an ambush. In Meadows' version, four crooks give the police their view of events following a robbery, a street fight and two shootings. The young, inexperienced cast includes Mat Hand, Jimmy Hynd, and Paul Anderson. Meadows himself delivers a sharp, witty performance as Ronnie the debt collector. He explains that "where's the money?" is his catchphrase, commenting that "even money collectors have to have jingles". Costumes are kept simple and unobtrusive, unlike the vivid shellsuits of Smalltime. Plasters and bandages litter the interviewees' broken faces in a recurrent visual gag.

The black and white camera work is pacy and largely handheld during the rather comic street scenes and fight sequences. In the police interview sections, faces are shown in extreme close-up, the camera static; these sequences are punctuated by the more stylised action sequences, as told from the point of view of the speaker.

Clever choices of music and contributions from the in-house Big Arty Band, which includes Dominic Dillon (who went on to play Mad Terry in Smalltime), add to the jaunty feel of the otherwise silent action sequences. This attention to detail, and the way in which the story emerges awkwardly from the half-truths of each of the four speakers, helps to make a very simple central story, shot on a shoestring budget, appear complex and polished.

Jonny Bugg

*This film is available on BFI DVD.

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Video Clips
Complete film (12:20)
Meadows, Shane (1973-)
Short Films
They Started Here