All Or Nothing

"Bad"

All Or Nothing Review


I've received a lot of criticism for bashing Jennifer Aniston's new flick The Good Girl. Although I admit my complaints were drawn from an intentionally drowsy style and tedious writing, I strongly believe that no matter how purposefully uneventful a character's life, the movie is still responsible for making the character interesting to watch for two hours--a feat The Good Girl did not accomplish.

All or Nothing earns exactly the same complaints for exactly the same reasons, except instead of one central character there are dozens--so many that the press notes contain an entire list of "Who's Who" so reviewers won't get confused. I suppose the list did help me define each character's role in the story, but the problem isn't that there are too many characters, but that I didn't care about any of them!

As the movie opens, a depressing mood quickly develops as Rachel (Alison Garland) woefully mops the hallway floors of a quiet old folks' home. She's the unhappy daughter of Phil (Timothy Spall), a discontent cabdriver, and Penny (Lesley Manville), a discontent supermarket cashier. Their unemployed, obese son, Roy (James Corden), wastes most of his time snacking and watching television. The family spends little time socializing or interacting; when Penny sorrowfully asks Rachel if she would like to take a walk with her after dinner, she denies without hesitation.

All or Nothing is the story of an extended weekend in the uneventful lives of this family and several other unhappy individuals. Nothing more. I'm glad I wasn't in charge of making this film's trailer--there's nothing here to draw the attention of any conscious audience member.

Mike Leigh develops an effective atmosphere, introducing each location with stirring curiosity; he establishes the settings not by revealing them outright, but by simply implying them. He introduces a supermarket by cutting straight to a medium angle on two working cashiers who chat while loading grocery; he portrays a taxicab with a medium-close up of the driver and a passenger in the back seat. His technique is remarkably effective.

Unfortunately, the talented filmmaking leads nowhere. The characters do nothing but smoke, eat, argue, drink, argue, fight some more, and drive around. Leigh may have intended to portray tedious lifestyles here, but he doesn't go anywhere with them. The lives of the characters from Requiem for a Dream began positively but quickly spiraled downward so the audience could see a silver lining around the clouds nearby. A movie cannot be tragic if there is no positive alternative--it's just uneventful hokum.

The movie shares much with Leigh's previous work, especially the themes of loneliness and depravity in his excellent film Secrets & Lies. Unlike that movie, however, All or Nothing lacks hope. For any tragedy to work, there must be potential for a better future. Aniston did not have one in The Good Girl, therefore, there was no point to the movie, and if there was a point, it certainly wasn't worth the trip to arrive there. The same goes from All or Nothing.

At the very end of this movie, when a glimmer of inspiration finally appears, it becomes clear that this story is simply told the wrong way around. If it had begun with flashes of hope and the movie had followed the characters as they began to lose sight of it, the audience would have felt for them. But neither All or Nothing nor The Good Girl understands; both films crash and burn. Which film is worse? That's a tough call. If I absolutely had to watch either The Good Girl or All or Nothing again...gosh, I don't know. I only hope that I never have to make that decision.

Soup's on!



All Or Nothing

Facts and Figures

Run time: 128 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th October 2002

Distributed by: MGM Distribution Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Fresh: 74 Rotten: 15

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

This closing chapter of the First Class trilogy falls into the same trap as The...

Sing Street Movie Review

Sing Street Movie Review

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical...

Departure Movie Review

Departure Movie Review

Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience,...

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Richard Linklater loosely follows on from two of his most acclaimed films with this lively...

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal...

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

There's nothing particularly memorable about this frantic animated romp, which adapts the iconic phone-app game...

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

While it's amusing and sometimes very funny, there's an air of desperation about this sequel...

Advertisement
Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Although this comedy-drama seems to have been written specifically to give Meryl Streep a chance...

I Saw the Light Movie Review

I Saw the Light Movie Review

Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams,...

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.