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Notes

Smalltime’s focus on petty crime made it almost unique in 1990s British cinema. Yet, its depiction of criminal activity as undramatic and unimpressive surely had more in common with the everyday realities of much 1990s crime than did the glamorised dystopia of Shopping or the efficiently orchestrated armed heist of Face. Equally rare was its overt interest in crime as a gendered phenomenon and as a source of tension between women and men. Most curiously of all, Smalltime was one of very few 1990s British films dealing with crime to be fully rooted in 1990s conditions rather than remaining in one sense or another preoccupied with, or in thrall to, the 1980s. All three of these achievements necessitated a departure from the usual conventions of the professional crime film. In an apparent paradox, Smalltime-like Meadows’ earlier short film, Where’s the Money, Ronnie? (1995)—owed obvious debts to the gangland genre; yet, crucially, the relationship of both to its mythologies was entirely deflationary. By contrast, it seems telling that Face’s attempts to work within the gangster rubric-with all its gendered and ritualistic implications-and in particular to incorporate credible 1990s female characters into it, produced problems of unreality that the more generically hybrid 1990s films discussed in this chapter had on the whole left behind.