HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Tyger Tyger
Filmmaker's House, The
Man Standing Next, The
Rock, Paper and Scissors
Batman: The Long Halloween Part One
Salaam Bombay!
Boss Level
My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To
Edge of the World
PTU
Superdeep
Insignificance
Treasure City
Piccadilly
Parallel
Invasión
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
   
 
Newest Articles
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
   
 
  All or Nothing Might Never Happen
Year: 2002
Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Alison Garland, James Corden, Ruth Sheen, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson, Sam Kelly, Kathryn Hunter, Sally Hawkins, Helen Coker, Daniel Mays, Ben Crompton, Robert Wilfort, Gary McDonald, Diveen Henry, Timothy Bateson, Edna Doré
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Phil Bassett (Timothy Spall) is a taxi driver, but he doesn't fancy the early mornings, never has, so prefers to pick up the customers at later times before the rush hour, meaning his partner Penny (Lesley Manville) feels that they could be making better money if he'd start rising at a busier time for taxis. Phil doesn't listen, and they have to rely on the cash Penny brings in from her job at the local supermarket, but there's also the cash from their daughter Rachel (Alison Garland) who works in a care home for the elderly. Their son Rory (James Corden), however, prefers the layabout existence, and his ungratefulness would try the patience of a saint, but most of the families in their tower block are having the same problems...

When Mike Leigh is creating comedies, he can be very funny indeed, yet when he turns to drama, the opposite is equally as true. Take All or Nothing, for example, where it was as if he tried to get as many of those bleak moments into his work as he had since, well, since Bleak Moments back in the early seventies, and the finished effort was not met with the near-universal acclaim his previous films had been. It was certainly in marked contrast to the comedy that he had made before, Topsy-Turvy, which was such a departure into historical confection that it was as if All or Nothing was made as a reaction to that.

This is "reaction" as one would have a stomach upset after too much cake, with the characters here ekeing out an existence of hand to mouth misery so dark and dejected that it quickly grew over the top, in an under the top production. Leigh was famous for his improvisational methods, shooting hours of footage with his heavily-rehearsed cast and editing it down to a story, yet in this case if there were any lighter elements created during the production, they were ruthlessly pared away so that every character appeared to be in some stage of depression. Only Penny's friend Maureen (Ruth Sheen) seemed to have any perspective that allowed her to see the funnier side of life.

And even she is tested when her daughter Donna (Helen Coker) falls pregnant by her abusive boyfriend; it's like Leigh is standing just offscreen with a stern expression on his face that said there was no room for frivolity here, and anyone cracking a joke will be punished with a plot development which will soon bring them crashing back down to earth. Spall's Phil is such a cowed sad sack of a man that you can fully understand why, after an hour and a half of this, he would feel the need to head off to the seaside for an afternoon, turning off his taxi radio and his mobile phone to get some much needed escape from a drudgery he feels he cannot improve, and it takes a near-tragedy for him to realise that Penny doesn't love him anymore.

It sounds like it should be quietly moving, yet Leigh goes too far and by the time Penny crashes on the way to the hospital you'll be thinking, crikey, you're laying it on a bit thick here, Mike. He would possibly argue that to deserve the happy ending that we get - well, relatively happy ending to what has gone before - we have to have earned it, and the mixture of middle aged working class parents and their going-nowhere offspring do go through the wringer of Leigh's making. Undoubtedly there are families enduring this kind of trial, but to see it concentrated into such a pressurised block of desolation doesn't do wonders for anyone involved. For most, there is light and shade in life, and in All or Nothing by focusing on little but the shade, from the broken relationships to the deadening lack of purpose, those accusations of Leigh's tendency to caricature seem all too accurate. Mournful music by Andrew Dickson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3352 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: