Starring Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville, All Or Nothing is the definitive Mike Leigh film. Deeply humane and distinguished by his acute gift for peeling away the veneers of his characters to explore their complex inner lives.
Depressing beyond Belief
- All or Nothing review by JG
I suppose this is a good film in some ways: acting demonstrating the 'Mike Leigh Method'. And there are some engaging moments . . . yes, there's a 'BUT' and it is that the whole thing is monumentally depressing. The Tim Spall character is at least likeable, the Lesley Manville character seems like a real person. But everyone else has only one repost to any remark tossed at them. When the James Cordon character is mildly told off by his mum (Manville) his response is 'Oh, fuck off'". Everyone deals with every situation with a loud "Fuck off" and this gets repetitive and depressing. The treatment of a girl by her so-called boyfriend is the same, no humanity, just "why don't you fuck off". "I'm pregnant" (an eventuality boringly predictable) and his response is a tirade including (if I remember correctly) "Why don't you fuck off". He then goes off and fucks the Sally Hawkins character. True there are plenty of people who are aimless with little mastery of elegant conversation, maybe no job or prospects for whom a sort of nihilist yelling of the same phrase is a way of life. My point is, why should this be seen as possible entertainment? It's all so bleak and un-entertaining. The audience needs to feel some sliver of interest in the characters, some sympathy, to get involved. I nearly gave up with this grim trudge through the East End but somehow stayed with it. Finally, I feel the citizens of such communities should feel insulted by such a representation, characters with so little roundness and depth. But at least there is only one of those Leigh caricatured characters such as in 'Happy Go Lucky' and others.