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All Or Nothing [DVD] 
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Mike Leigh returns to gritty drama after his last big-screen outing with 'Topsy Turvy' in 1999. Penny (Lesley Manville) lives with her long-term partner, taxi-driver Phil (Timothy Spall), and works on the checkout at a supermarket. Their daughter Rachel (Alison Garland) cleans in a home for elderly people, and their son Rory (James Corden) is unemployed and aggressive. The joy has gone out of Phil and Penny's life, but when Rory becomes ill and has to be rushed to hospital, they begin to rediscover their love.
A 2002 Mike Leigh drama, All or Nothing is at times almost unbearably bleak and poignant, yet funny, truthful and richly rewarding. The film's revolves around Timothy Spall's mini-cab driver, his family and the various characters and acquaintances on the South-east London estate where he lives. It's perhaps even better than Secrets and Lies, in which Spall also starred, which was marred a little by some of the tearful excesses of Brenda Blethyn's bravura performance. It's evidence that Leigh has matured and improved with age, rather than mellowed and softened. He's developed into a highly distinctive but rounded and humane filmmaker.
Spall's cabbie is too gentle and thoughtful to be described as a slob, but his lack of even the most basic ambition and stoic non-resistance to life has created an unspoken rift between him and wife Penny (Lesley Manville). Working on a supermarket checkout, she must cook dinner and fend off insults from her fat, frustrated, obnoxious 18-year-old son Rory. She receives only passive sympathy from her older daughter Rachel. Only when Rory is taken ill is Phil snapped out of his torpor as the family pull together.
A host of minor characters also feature; fatuous cabbie Ron (Paul Jesson) his alcoholic wife and sluttish daughter, as well as the wonderfully good-humoured and resilient Maureen, Penny's best friend, concerned at her daughter's relationship with a violent boyfriend. Once accused of caricaturing his "lower class" characters, here Leigh (with the collaborative assistance of his actors) exhibits them in all their authentic complexity, neither idealising nor sentimentalising them.
On the DVD: All or Nothing's extras include the original trailer, as well as interviews with several members of the cast. Timothy Spall is interesting on the unnerving process of collaboration favoured by Leigh, whereby characters are "built from zero" by the actors. The smart and rather posh Lesley Manville strikes quite a contrast in real life with her mousey, put-upon character. There's also a meticulous and absorbing commentary from Mike Leigh, who talks about filming in Greenwich and how he has moved away from some of the more dogmatic ideas about filmmaking of his earlier, avant-garde days. --David Stubbs
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not Saturday night at the movies stuff, but what do you expect from Mike Leigh? Instead, this is a brilliant and moving character study, with absolutely first class acting throughout, especially from the two lead characters played by Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville. The look (and sound) of the film is fittingly sober, plain and sensitive.Read more ›
All Or Nothing focuses on the story of unmarried couple Phil and Penny Bassett, he a reserved (and frequently philosophical) mini-cab driver, and she a shy mother of two, who works on the tills at the supermarket. Leigh has cast two of his most gifted (and frequent) collaborators in these central roles, Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville, and they deliver two of their best ever performances in this film (for me, Manville has only ever been better in Leigh's Topsy-Turvy). Phil and Penny are two of life's 'good guys', well-meaning, kind and considerate, but also struggling to survive both economically (as Phil digs behind the sofa in search of lost coins with which to settle his debts) and emotionally - and the drudgery of everyday life has taken its toll on their love for one another.Read more ›
Although I wouldn't rate it as high as Mike Keigh's previous film 'Secret & Lies, it is still one to watch.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Spall at his best totally gripped me u have 2 have this in your collection gr8 value but hey don't take my word 4 it see it 4 yourself & u'll get it quick with excellent service I... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Pen Name
A Mike Leigh film - a story of working class life - hard work not a lot to be happy about, but somehow it gives hope - great acting from Timothy Spall backed up by Lesley Manville... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mr Christopher John Mercer
This was a bit slow but was very interesting nevertheless. The storyline was good and acting was good. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer