Three and Out

Last updated
Three and Out
Main portrait.JPG
Theatrical poster
Directed byJonathan Gershfield
Written bySteve Lewis and Tony Owen
Starring Mackenzie Crook
Colm Meaney
Gemma Arterton
Imelda Staunton
Kerry Katona
Music by Trevor Jones
Cinematography Richard Greatrex
Distributed byWorldwide Bonus Entertainment
Release date
  • 21 April 2008 (2008-04-21)(London premiere)
  • 25 April 2008 (2008-04-25)(United Kingdom)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Three and Out is a 2008 British black comedy film directed by Jonathan Gershfield and starring Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney, Gemma Arterton, Imelda Staunton, and Kerry Katona. It premiered in London on the 21 April 2008 and was released in the UK and Ireland on 25 April 2008. It was released in Australia under the title A Deal Is a Deal.

Black comedy Comic work based on subject matter that is generally considered taboo

Black comedy, also known as dark comedy or gallows humor, is a comic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered serious or painful to discuss. Comedians often use it as a tool for exploring vulgar issues, thus provoking discomfort and serious thought as well as amusement in their audience. Popular themes of the genre include death and violence, discrimination, disease, sexuality, religion, and barbarism.

Mackenzie Crook English actor

Paul James Crook, known professionally as Mackenzie Crook, is an English actor, director, comedian and BAFTA-winning writer. He is best known for playing Gareth Keenan in The Office, Ragetti in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, and Orell in the HBO series Game of Thrones, and is the creator and star of BBC Four's Detectorists.

Colm Meaney Irish actor

Colm J. Meaney is an Irish actor known for playing Miles O'Brien in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999). He has guest-starred on many TV shows including Law & Order and The Simpsons, and starred as Thomas Durant on Hell on Wheels.



Paul Callow (Mackenzie Crook) accidentally runs a man over with his underground train, after the man is pulled on to the tracks by his dog. After a week off he kills a second passenger who falls onto the tracks after having a heart attack.

Dog domestic animal

The domestic dog is a member of the genus Canis (canines), which forms part of the wolf-like canids, and is the most widely abundant terrestrial carnivore. The dog and the extant gray wolf are sister taxa as modern wolves are not closely related to the wolves that were first domesticated, which implies that the direct ancestor of the dog is extinct. The dog was the first species to be domesticated and has been selectively bred over millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes.

Before taking time off for the second accident his colleagues tell him about a little-known 'rule' at London Underground that no-one talks about: three 'under' within a month, and you lose your job - earning yourself ten years' salary in one lump sum. But being off for the next week means that Paul needs to find someone willing to kill themselves by the following Monday.

London Underground rapid transit system in London, United Kingdom

The London Underground is a public rapid transit system serving London, England and some parts of the adjacent counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom.

Paul sets about trying to find someone prepared to die under his train – and after hearing a report about Holborn Viaduct he comes across Tommy Cassidy (Colm Meaney) attempting to jump off. He grabs his hand and pulls him up but far from being grateful Tommy is angered by Paul's interference and moans about how "do gooders" will not just mind their own business, however upon hearing a police siren he agrees to get in Paul's car.

Holborn Viaduct road bridge in London

Holborn Viaduct is a road bridge in London and the name of the street which crosses it. It links Holborn, via Holborn Circus, with Newgate Street, in the City of London financial district, passing over Farringdon Street and the subterranean River Fleet. The viaduct spans the steep-sided Holborn Hill and the River Fleet valley at a length of 1,400 feet (430 m) and 80 feet (24 m) wide. City surveyor William Haywood was the architect and the engineer was Rowland Mason Ordish.

While in a bar Paul explains to Tommy that he will pay him if he is willing to jump in front of his train. Tommy is scornful asking what good will the money do him if he has to die. Paul says that he can have one last weekend of fun. Tommy however wants to do something meaningful.

Tommy agrees to his proposal and decides to spend his last weekend making amends with his estranged family.

Tommy hires a car and they travel to Liverpool. While there they find that Tommy's wife Rosemary (Imelda Staunton) and daughter Frances (Gemma Arterton) have moved to the Lake District. Paul tags along to protect his investment.

Liverpool City and Metropolitan borough in England

Liverpool is a city in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500 within the Liverpool City Council local authority in 2017. Its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region.

Imelda Staunton English actress

Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette Staunton, is an English stage and screen actress. After training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Staunton began her career in repertory theatre in the 1970s before appearing in seasons at various theatres in the UK.

Gemma Arterton English actress

Gemma Christina Arterton is an English actress. Arterton made her film debut in the comedy film St Trinian's (2007). Her breakthrough role was in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace (2008), playing Bond Girl Strawberry Fields, which won her an Empire Award for Best Newcomer. She was the title star of the film The Disappearance of Alice Creed (2009). She is known for her roles in the fantasy films Clash of the Titans (2010), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), Byzantium (2013), and as the character Gretel in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013). She played Joan in Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan at Donmar Warehouse, December 2016. She played the lead role in the film Their Finest (2017).

While in the Lake District Tommy meets with resistance from his wife and daughter. He reconciles with his wife, who reveals she has found a new man. Paul meets the daughter at a local pub and the two get drunk and sleep together.

On the Sunday morning Tommy tries to talk to his daughter and sees her in bed with Paul, then chases him over some hills before having a mild cardiac attack and being taken to hospital. Tommy and Paul leave to go back to London.

Paul tells Tommy he does not want to kill him and Tommy insists that he go through with it. On the Monday morning Paul is told by his colleagues that the "three and out" rule was a joke, and that there is no pay off. When the time approaches Paul sees Tommy on the tracks and stops and reports an "animal on the tracks". However, crying and recalling "a deal's a deal", Paul accelerates towards Tommy, who recites William Butler Yeats' poem Lake Isle of Innisfree as the train kills him.

"The Lake Isle of Innisfree" is a twelve-line poem composed of three quatrains written by William Butler Yeats in 1888 and first published in the National Observer in 1890. It was reprinted in The Countess Kathleen and Various Legends and Lyrics in 1892 and as an illustrated Cuala Press Broadside in 1932.

Distraught, Paul sits at home then begins to write and changes the title of his novel to Three and Out, we see Frances receive a copy of the novel along with £10,000 which Paul had promised to Tommy. Hidden behind the cheque is the dedication "In Memory of Tommy Cassidy". Realising her Dad has died, Frankie breaks down in tears. She travels to London and meets Paul, they go deep sea diving with Great White Sharks, Tommy's last wish.



Although set around the London Underground, most of the action in the film takes place above ground and in North London, Liverpool and Cumbria.[ citation needed ]

A scene set in South Africa was filmed in Gibraltar.[ citation needed ]


The film, whose filming was carried out in close co-operation with London Underground, [1] has been the cause of controversy due to the plot of the film involving a character seeking someone to commit suicide by diving under his train. Before the film was released, the train drivers' union, ASLEF, called the plot "insulting and foolish" despite not having seen the film [2] and have pointed out that train drivers who experience such incidents find them "life-changing traumas". [3] The union organized a protest at premiere of the film, handing out leaflets to the public, from whom it claims to have received strong support. [3] The filmmakers' spokesperson stated that "difficult issues portrayed in the film have been handled sensitively." [3]


Box office

Three and Out flopped, [4] entered at number 12 in the UK box office chart with an opening weekend take of £189,454.

Critical response

The film was panned by critics, with criticism focused on the script, direction and overuse of crude humour. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 17% rating based on 6 reviews. [5]




Home media

Contender Entertainment Group have released this film on Region 2 DVD on 15 September 2008 in The United Kingdom. The extra features included cast & crew biographies, deleted scenes, trailers and a featurette on the making of this film. It was rated as a 12 certificate and has a distinct sticker on the front saying Gemma Arterton as the new Bond Girl being in this film. Gemma appears as Agent Fields in the 22nd James Bond film Quantum of Solace . [6]


The trailer features the tracks "Dreaming of You" by The Coral, "One Way or Another" by Blondie, "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum and "Night Time" by N.U.M.B. There is a soundtrack of the same name accompanying this film.


The novelisation of Three and Out by Tom Henry was released on 14 April 2008 by Rovinge Publishing Company Limited. It is based on the original screenplay by Steve Lewis and Tony Owen and provides a great deal of additional information on the characters' lives as well as answering a number of questions not resolved by the film.

Related Research Articles

Dylan Moran Irish actor and comedian

Dylan William Moran is an Irish comedian, writer, actor, filmmaker and artist. He is best known for his observational comedy, the television sitcom Black Books and his work with Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead and Run Fatboy Run. He appeared as one of the two lead characters in the Irish black comedy titled A Film with Me in It in 2008.

Ray Winstone British film and television actor

Raymond Andrew Winstone is an English film and television actor. He is mostly known for his "hard man" roles beginning with his role as Carlin in the 1979 film Scum. He also played Kevin, an ex-army soldier, in Quadrophenia as well as Will Scarlet in the television series Robin of Sherwood. He has also become well known as a voice over actor, and has recently branched out into film production.

<i>Vera Drake</i> 2004 film by Mike Leigh

Vera Drake is a 2004 British drama film written and directed by Mike Leigh and starring Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis, Daniel Mays and Eddie Marsan. It tells the story of a working-class woman in London in 1950 who performs illegal abortions. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and it was nominated for three Academy Awards and won three BAFTAs.

Tamara Drewe is a weekly comic strip serial by Posy Simmonds, which had a 13 month run in The Guardian's Review section. The strip is based upon a modern reworking of Thomas Hardy's nineteenth century novel Far from the Madding Crowd.

Sean Brian Gilder is an English stage, film and screen actor, he is also a playwright.

Justin Zackham is an American and British screenwriter, director and producer. He wrote the hit films The Bucket List, One Chance, and the FX series Lights Out, and The Big Wedding, which he also directed.

Tommy Collins, sometimes referred to as Tom Collins, is an Irish filmmaker. Two of Collins's Irish language works have been Ireland's entries into the Foreign Language Films category at the Academy Awards.

<i>RocknRolla</i> 2008 film by Guy Ritchie

RocknRolla is a 2008 crime comedy film written and directed by Guy Ritchie, and starring Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Gemma Arterton and Toby Kebbell. It was released on 5 September 2008 in the United Kingdom, hitting number one in the UK box office in its first week of release.

<i>The Van</i> (1996 film) 1996 film by Stephen Frears

The Van is a 1996 film, based on the novel The Van by Roddy Doyle. Like The Snapper (1993), it was directed by Stephen Frears.. It was entered into the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. The film stars Colm Meaney and Donal O'Kelly.

The Laurence Olivier Awards, or simply the Olivier Awards, are presented annually by the Society of London Theatre to recognise excellence in professional theatre in London at an annual ceremony in the capital. The awards were originally known as the Society of West End Theatre Awards, but they were renamed in honour of the British actor Laurence Olivier in 1984.

Barnaby David Waterhouse Thompson is a British film director and producer. He is best known for producing Wayne's World, Spice World, Kevin & Perry Go Large and An Ideal Husband, as well as co-directing the St Trinians films. He founded Fragile Films and ran the iconic Ealing Studios for fourteen years.

<i>Gemma Bovery</i> (film) 2014 film by Anne Fontaine

Gemma Bovery is a 2014 French comedy-drama film based on Posy Simmonds' 1999 graphic novel of the same name. Directed by Anne Fontaine, the film stars Gemma Arterton, Jason Flemyng, Mel Raido and Fabrice Luchini. The film premiered in the Special Presentations section at the Toronto International Film Festival on 6 September 2014.

<i>Pride</i> (2014 film) 2014 British LGBT-related historical comedy-drama film by Matthew Warchus

Pride is a 2014 British LGBT-related historical comedy-drama film written by Stephen Beresford and directed by Matthew Warchus. Based on a true story, the film depicts a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the British miners' strike in 1984, at the outset of what would become the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign. The alliance was unlike any seen before and was ultimately successful.

Hannah Arterton British actor and singer

Hannah Jane Arterton is an English actress. She was born in Gravesend, Kent. Arterton attended Gravesend Grammar School for Girls and graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2011. She is best known for playing Emma Castle in Netflix Original series Safe (2018).

<i>Their Finest</i> 2016 film by Lone Scherfig

Their Finest is a 2016 British war comedy-drama film directed by Lone Scherfig and written by Gaby Chiappe, based on the 2009 novel Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans. The film stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Jake Lacy, Richard E. Grant, Henry Goodman, Rachael Stirling, Eddie Marsan, Helen McCrory, and Claudia Jessie. The film tells the story of a British Ministry of Information film team making a morale-boosting film about the Dunkirk evacuation during the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz.

<i>Finding Your Feet</i> 2017 film by Richard Loncraine

Finding Your Feet is a 2017 romantic comedy film directed by Richard Loncraine and written by Nick Moorcroft and Meg Leonard. The film stars Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie, Joanna Lumley, and David Hayman, and was released on 23 February 2018 in the United Kingdom.


  2. "Union angry at Tube suicide film". BBC News. 2008-03-26. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  3. 1 2 3 "Protest to greet Tube film launch". BBC News. 2008-04-17. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  4. "Tube comedy film flops at cinema". BBC News. 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2009-07-11.