ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN

5 out of 10

Release Date: 5th April 2013

Director: George Isaac 

Cast: Rufus Sewell, Toby Stephens, Gabriel Byrne, Leo Gregory, Terence Maynard, Julian Sands, Elsa Pataky, Ralph Brown, Neil Maskell, Michael Harvey, Pierre Mascolo, Christopher Adamson, Gil Darnell with James Frain and David Schofield

Writer: George Isaac

Trailer: ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN

All Things to All Men

There are very strong story and stylistic echoes of director Mike Hodges(GET CARTER / I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD / CROUPIER) gangster movies in All Things To All Men.  This is a very bleak, well acted but ultimately workman-like film from one of the producers of Kidulthood and Adulthood, George Issac. All Things To All  Men fails only narrowly by stealing (or is it sampling?) the plot of a well-known American thriller.  To tell you which one this borrows the framework from is to do this film a disservice because there is a lot to be enjoyed, but it was one hell of a liberty all the same.

Parker (RUFUS SEWELL – DARK CITY) is a high-ranking London detective.  With his long-term partner, Sands (TERENCE MAYNARD – REVOLVER) and rookie Dixon (LEO GREGORY – THE BIG I AM) they arrest the son of Gangster kingpin Corso (GABRIEL BYRNE – I, ANNA) for drug possession.  Using the son as leverage, Parker is playing a bigger game with just about everyone around him working as oblivious pawns in his game plan.

Littered with a cast made up of “one-time” “next big things”, this is extremely well-mounted and reasonably well written. It wanders similar but less scrubbed streets to the similar and recent Welcome To The Punch.  There seems to be less pressure to succeed on this occassion with the cast of old hands essentially disappearing into their parts showing James McAvoy and his mates how it should be done (with less flash!).  All the characters are tight-lipped because the game is one of very high stakes.  The only character who seems left behind from a 90s John Grisham thriller is Toby Stephens’ (SEVERANCE) hit man, Reilly. With a quiff, a sneer and the silliest dialogue, in the early stages it would appear that he is the leading man.  It soon transpires that this is Rufus Sewell’s show though as he runs circles around Corso and Reilly even embroiling his best friend and a clueless rookie in his schemes.

The cast is rounded out by a strange turn from Julian Sands (A ROOM WITH A VIEW) as Corso’s lieutenant Cutter, also we have the  double headed beast of Police Commissioner and Attourney General (JAMES FRAIN and DAVID SCHOFIELD) who virtually steal the movie with unearthly and darkly corrupt evil sentinels of the city. Neil Maskell (HOW TO STOP BEING A LOSER) pops up in a tiny role as a snitch and then there’s a disposable woman character, Sophia (ELSA PATAKY  – FAST & FURIOUS 6) who pouts, cries and dies to no avail other than to have a woman in the film.  There’s a good heist scene, a very decent car chase and few fights to bolster the acting and corkscrew plot, so we’re largely in the clear. So what went wrong?

The problems aren’t fatal, but the fact it’s plot is second hand is definitely a minus. The actors are as laid back and immersive as they would need their characters to be, but its hard to be engrossed in a film that is playing so many cards close to it’s chest. There’s no emotion to be had, Rufus Sewell is brilliant as the unflappable mastermind, but it also makes him unreadable. Only Gabriel Byrne gets to emote vaguely as the unlikely quarry of Parker’s game.  The climax is a bit of a dud as well with an all-star shoot out taking place at (a rubbish stand-in for) the Battersea Power Station, which looks like it was filmed in my garage.  The last line in the film is predictable but still a killer.  Better and less flashier than Welcome To The Punch (which had a better marketing an hype machine) but still a bit old hat.

5 out of 10 – Half marks all the way. Good acting, good chases, good cast, stolen plot, dated in every way, even in it’s very British need to stay tight-lipped and modest.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Rufus Sewell: The Man In The High Castle (TV), Blinky Bill (voice), The Devil’s Hand, Hercules (2014), The Sea, Abraham Lincoln- Vampire Hunter, The Tourist, The Holiday (2006), Paris Je T’Aime, Tristan + Isolde, The Illusionist (2006), Charles II (TV), Mask Of Zorro 2, Extreme Ops, A Knight’s Tale, Bless The Child, Martha Meet Daniel Frank and Laurence, Dark City, The Woodlanders, Hamlet (1996), Carrington, Cold Comfort Farm, A Man Of No Importance, Middlemarch (TV), Dirty Weekend, Twenty One
  • Toby Stephens: 13 Hours – The Secret Soldiers of Behgazi, Black Sails (TV),  Believe, The Machine (2014), Severance, The Ballad of Mangal Pandey, James Bond- Die Another Day, Possession (2002), Space Cowboys, Onegin, Photographing Fairies, Twelfth Night (1996)
  • Gabriel Byrne: Louder The Bombs, The 33, Vampire Academy, I Anna, In Treatment (TV), Jindabyne, Wah-Wah, Assault On Precinct 13 (2005), Ghost Ship, Spider, End Of Days, Stgimata, Enemy Of The State, The Man In The Iron Mask (1998), This Is The Sea, The End Of Violence, Smilla’s Feeling For Snow, Last Of The High Kings, Trigger Happy, Dead Man, The Usual Suspects, Little Women (1994), Trial By Jury, A Dangerous Woman, The Assassin, Into The West, Cool World, Miller’s Crossing, Diamond Skulls, Siesta, The Keep, Excalibur
  • Leo Gregory: Apocalypse, Northmen – A Viking Saga, The Hooligan Factory, Top Dog, One In The Chamber, Payback Season,  Wild Bill (2012),  Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, The Big I AmGoal 3, Cass, Stoned, Green Street
  • Terence Maynard: Coronation Street (TV), Edge of Tomorrow, Revolver, Reign Of Fire
  • Julian Sands: Borley Rectory (voice), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), Blood and Bone, Ocean’s Thirteen, 24 (TV), Hotel (2000), Timecode, The Million Dollar Hotel, The Loss Of  Sexual Innocence, One Night Stand, Leaving Las Vegas, The Browning Version (1994), Warlock 2, Boxing Helena, A Tale Of a Vampire, The Turn Of The Screw (1992), Naked Lunch, Impromptu, Arachnaphobia, Warlock, Siesta, Gothic, A Room With a View (1985), The Doctor and The Devils, The Killing Fields, Oxford Blues
  • Elsa Pataky: Fats & Furious 8, Fast & Furious 7, Fast & Furious 6, Fast & Furious 5, Mr Nice, Snakes On a Plane
  • Ralph Brown: Elevator Gods, My Hero, Agent Carter (TV), Jack The Giant Slayer, I Anna, Stoker, Tower BlockHuge, Killing Bono, The Kid (2010), The Boat That Rocked, Straightheads, Exorcist – The Beginning, Flood, Mean Machine, Star Wars – The Phantom Menace, Up N’ Under, Amistad, Wayne’s World 2, Undercover Blues, The Crying Game, Alien 3, Diamond Skulls, Scandal, Buster, Withnail & I
  • Neil Maskell: Level Up, Bone In The Throat, High-Rise, Humans (TV), Hyena, The Rise, Utopia (TV), Dates (TV),  Pusher (2012), Turnout, GhostedSt. George’s Day, The ABCs of Death, Piggy,  Kill ListWild Bill (2012)Bonded By Blood, Tony, How To Stop Being a Loser,  Jack FallsDoghouseRise Of The Footsoldier, It’s All Gone Pete Tong, The Football Factory
  • Michael Harvey: The Big I Am
  • Pierre Mascolo: Adulthood, Kidulthood
  • Christopher Adamson: The Sleeping Room, F, Mutant Chronicles, The Last Horror MovieEvil Aliens, The Ballad Of Mangal Pandey, Lighthouse, Razor Blade Smile, Judge Dredd (1995), Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Beyond Bedlam, Dirty Weekend, The Young Americans
  • Gil Darnell: Soldiers of the Damned, Redirected
  • James Frain: Gotham (TV), True Detective (TV), Agent Carter (TV), Born of War, The Lone Ranger (2013), Water For Elephants, Tron 2, Everybody’s Fine, The Tudors (TV), Into The Blue, 24 (TV), The Count Of Monte Cristo (2002), Where The Heart Is , Reindeer Games, Titus, Elizabeth I (1998), Hilary and Jackie, Loch Ness, Nothing Personal, An Awfully Big Adventure, Shadowlands
  • David Schofield: Da Vinci’s Demons (TV), The Last PassengerGhosted F, Burke and HareDevil’s Bridge, Pirates Of The Caribbean 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, The Wolfman, Valkyrie, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Musketeer, From Hell, Gladiator (2000), Anna Karenina (1997), An American Werewolf In London
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