Three and Out


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

A sad sack named Paul is working as an operator on a London commuter train while he tries to write a novel. Within a three-week period he runs over two human beings in unavoidable accidents. He's understandably traumatized and depressed about the recent events until two of his colleagues tell him about a rarely invoked rule, "three and out," which means that any London Underground driver who runs over three people in one month is laid off permanently as unfit, but with ten years' salary in his pocket to compensate for lost wages and mental anguish.

Since he's down on his financial luck, Paul dreams of a third victim, but it's Friday and he has only a weekend and Monday left on the clock. Since he has no routes scheduled over the weekend, his Monday run will be his one and only chance at the morbid jackpot. He knows full well that the odds are infinitely high against anyone falling under his train on a single run, so there's only one way he can collect the bounty: he needs to find a volunteer to jump in front of his train. After failing miserably in his attempt to seduce homeless and elderly people into his plot, he lucks upon a man trying to jump from a bridge, saves him, and persuades him to postpone his suicide until Monday. The suicidal Irishman is reluctant to accept the deal at first, but is finally convinced by Paul's offer of 1500 quid in cash for a final weekend of indulgence, score-settling, and fence-mending.

Paul insists on going along on the Irishman's final weekend, and the two men bond through a series of adventures. The Irishman tries to find a way to deal with death, and the driver finds a way to deal with life. Both of them find things that had been missing from their lives, including friendship with one another.

But Monday must arrive and "a deal's a deal."

Will the new friends be able to go through with their plan?

The BBC rated it 2/5, and The Guardian took the under, with a minimum 1/5. While the Brit-Crits were savaging Three and Out, the London Underground operators were picketing it because they found its ideas offensive to them as well as to the families of those apparently numerous victims who actually do perish beneath the wheels of their trains. If you study the IMDb info on this film, you'll conclude that it is a poor film, but a very controversial one. Those conclusions would both be wrong.

There is very little controversial about it. It has a dark premise (there's even some cannibalism!), but no darker than any other black comedy like Dr. Strangelove or The Producers. Moreover, the premise is the only element of black comedy in the film. The story actually plays out as a sentimental, heartfelt dramedy about quirky people finding redemption when things seem bleakest. The film does have some other dark elements, but they are not at all comic. The final act of the film raises a lot of serious questions about euthanasia and death with dignity.

Not exactly your wacky Dane Cook comedy.

It's actually quite a good little film which is very much within the tradition of off-kilter British comedy. The performances are quite moving, especially from Colm Meany as the Irishman and Imelda Staunton as his long-suffering wife. The only place the film really fails is that it completely abandons all humor in the final half hour, and the absolute nature of that tone shift really violates its covenant with the viewer. The end of the film is deeply emotional, utterly melodramatic and more than a bit maudlin.

But I still found it worthwhile.

At the moment, the only available DVD is a Region 2. Buy it at


1 The Guardian (of 5 stars)
2 BBC  (of 5 stars)


5.3 IMDB summary (of 10)


It opened in 380 theaters in the UK (wide distro, roughly equivalent to 2000 in the USA). but did very little at the box (about $400,000).


Gemma Arterton shows her breasts qnd buns in a dark but spirited sex scene.


Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


Underrated, quirky little film.