Back Add a Comment Share:
Facebook Button
All or Nothing is the kind of film that wins awards. You know the type - Captain Corelli's Mandolin, The English Patient, Trainspotting etc. - it has an 'arty' feel to it but almost in a completely different way to other films.

All or Nothing
Nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, All or Nothing is directed by Mike Leigh, a director who does away with that silly little thing called a script and pretty much lets his films be improvised entirely. He guides it along in a general direction but nevertheless it really is all 'off-the-cuff'. Does it succeed in making a good film though?

The film is loosely centred around a long weekend in the life of Phil and Penny, their children and their neighbours. Phil is a cabbie in South London who lives on a council estate and for many years has allowed his life to drift. The love has gone out of his marriage but neither him nor his wife seems to realise it and their kids are going the same way.  Son Rory sits in front of the TV all day while daughter Rachel works in a residential care home and while seemingly clever doesn't seem to have the drive to improve herself.

All or Nothing
Alongside the family we have various intermingling sub-plots. To describe these too much would be to spoil the film but towards the end we converge on one dramatic moment that has a massive impact on the lives of all the characters in the film and our perceptions of those characters.

The video image is often dark, often dull but this is how it needs to be. This reflects the sadness, the tedium of the characters lives. Many of the people are dull and equally as often dark.  There is no visible artefacting and while some of the visuals aren't perfect a lot of that is in keeping with the almost 'documentary' style of the film.  The sets are all actual flats on a genuine estate so some of the lighting issues are to be expected.  The aspect ratio is 1.85:1 and there is no noticable print damage or distracting edge enhancement.

All or Nothing
The film is presented in English Dolby 5.1, this in fact is the only track available, and the extras are delivered in 2 channel Dolby. The sound never gives your audio equipment a workout but due to the style of the filmmaking and indeed, the subject matter itself it doesn't need too. Vocals are well delivered and sound effects clear. Subtitles are provided but only English is available.

All or Nothing
The soundtrack is well timed and unobtrusive and fits in excellently with the film.

As well as the obligatory Theatrical Trailer we get 11 short interviews with members of the cast and crew and these give an insight into the unique style of film making that Mike Leigh employs.

All or Nothing
Also included is a Mike Leigh commentary and this is excellent. Mike talks continually throughout the film and given the almost 'fly-on-the-wall' nature of the film it almost works as a narrative to the film. A really good commentary and well worth a listen by anyone interested in filmmaking. That's all there is to the Extras, one really feels that there must have been an absolute goldmine of deleted scenes and outtakes given the improvisational way the film was made but alas, none of these make the disc.

For the first half an hour of watching the film I really didn't want to sit through the rest. This is no slight on the film, it was just that the actors were so convincingly depressing! However as the film peels back the layers you become engrossed and have to stick with it so see who manages to pull themselves towards a better life.

Excellently acted, often depressing, but always 'real' All or Nothing is well worth seeing and for people interested in cinema and film-making this disc is well worth buying.