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HTF REVIEW: "All or Nothing" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 17, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    All or Nothing

    Studio: MGM/UA
    Year: 2002
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 128 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English, French and Spanish & Portugese

    The first thing I do when I set out review a
    DVD title that I know very little about is is to
    do a little advance research to prepare me for
    the material I am about to watch. In the case
    of All or Nothing, I wanted to find out
    a little more about director Mike Leigh as this
    is the first film of his I have ever watched.

    It seems that for the past few years Michael
    Leigh has been making films about poor and
    run down English people. In films like High
    Hopes, Naked,
    and Secrets and Lies he
    focuses on how his characters survive the odds they
    are up against.

    Knowing this in advance made me greatly appreciate
    All or Nothing, a film about two families who
    are attempting to scratch out a living (and barely
    doing so) at their London housing complex.


    Phil Bassett (Timothy Spall) is a depressed cab
    driver who barely gets by making money when his
    passengers aren't trying to stiff him. He lives
    in a London housing complex with his emotionally
    distant wife, Penny (Lesley Manville), and teen
    children Rachel (Alison Garland) and Rory (James
    Corden). Rachel has a job working in an old folks
    home while the obese and always angry Rory hasn't
    lifted himself off the couch to find employment.


    Penny works in the local grocery store with her good
    friend, Maureen (Ruth Sheen), a single mom who has
    just discovered that her daughter, Donna (Helen
    Coket), is pregnant by her emotionally and physically
    abusive boyfriend, Jason (Daniel Mays). Phil and
    Penny's neighbors include Ron (Paul Jesson), another
    cab driver whose wife Carol (Marion Bailey) is an
    alcoholic and whose daughter Samantha (Sally Hawkins)
    is a hungry sex fiend..

    If all this sounds like the most depressing film
    you will see this year -- you are completely on the
    money. This is certainly not a film for those
    looking to be easily entertained. However, what
    it manages to be is a slow paced highly enduring
    character drama. Director Mike Leigh really
    captures the essence of these characters that
    are played by an outstanding ensemble of actors.

    How is the transfer?

    This is an exceptional transfer that I place up
    there with the very best DVD has to offer. Image
    clarity and definition is just outstanding. It's
    very rare that you see image quality that looks
    this perfect thanks to its smooth backgrounds that
    contain not a spec of grain or noise. I can't
    really say much about the colors of this film as
    the entire film seems to have a "colorless" look
    to it (most likely to support its depressing themes).
    I can tell you that what color there is here looks
    well balanced with facial tones are dead-on accurate.


    At its best, the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix delivers
    the full-bodied sounds of Andrew Dickson's violin
    based score neatly across the entire sound stage.
    That's about as good as it gets here with only a
    few additional effect noises (mostly sounds of the
    city from inside and outside a cab) going to the
    rear channels. Otherwise sound is as clear and
    distinct as the transfer itself.

    Special Features


    Oddly enough, all that is available here is the
    film's original theatrical trailer as well
    as a promo trailer for MGM DVD.

    Final Thoughts


    It's sort of hard to recommend this film to the
    vast majority of the membership here. While
    All or Nothing is anything but a feel-good
    movie, its rewards lie in its ensemble of actors
    and the characters they portray. If you enjoy
    looking at films about troubled people's lives,
    then this is one you certainly shouldn't miss.

    Release Date: February 18, 2003

    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
  2. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

    May 7, 2001
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    Another winning review of a winning film.[​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

    Oct 5, 1999
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    The R2 DVD of this excellent film is due in April with a commentary from Leigh.
  4. Alan Markow

    Alan Markow Agent

    Jun 30, 1997
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    Ron -- In mentioning other movies by Mike Leigh, you didn't list a much more upbeat film -- Topsy Turvy, which was about Gilbert and Sullivan. It was a very colorful film, filled with G&S music and magnificent costumes. It showed Mike Leigh's capability of directing a very different kind of film.

    Thanks for the review. I like depression, so I've ordered the film.


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