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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
All Or Nothing [DVD] [2002]
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on 26 September 2017
An exceptional DVD in that the extra items fully describe Mike Leigh's technique, script . filming and casting, in depth.
Surely a must for all would be film makers. It might in itself be a bit too bleak for some.
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on 29 May 2017
Love this film, Excellent portrayal by all the cast. Well worth seeing.
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on 13 October 2017
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on 29 September 2017
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on 1 December 2014
Absolutely fascinating stuff from Mike Leigh. Man, what he gets out of his actors - though perhaps Tim Spall is in a league of his own. James Corden has a big part, but all the characters are extremely interesting.
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on 16 March 2017
Very British film. Great acting from the cast.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 June 2012
Mike Leigh's 2002 film All Or Nothing is another extraordinary film from this master film-maker, portraying as it does a relatively short episode in the lives of a number of working class (largely dysfunctional) families living on a run-down (high-rise) housing estate (shot in a disused estate in Greenwich, in fact). Leigh's film is extraordinary in the context of modern cinema fare (though not, of course, in relation to his own work) because it focuses its story on the lives of real people having to deal with real-life problems. Indeed, not only do Leigh's characters mirror real life, but (largely due to his trademark method of film-making whereby his actors spend extended periods actually living their characters' back-stories) the acting performances in All Or Nothing are totally authentic and convincing.

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. Leigh brilliantly depicts Phil's musings on (and often despair with) life as the cab driver is shown ferrying around drunks, violent racists, a widow visiting his wife's grave, screaming kids, and an upper class Frenchwoman (off to the opera), whose own marital separation indicates to Phil that lack of money is not necessarily the source of his problems. The head-on shots of Spall's staring face as he contemplates life are quite mesmerising.

In addition to the Phil and Penny characters, Leigh has (typically) assembled an impressive array of acting talent (some Leigh regulars, many not). As the central couple's children, Leigh has cast newcomers James Corden as the obese, unemployed, rebellious Rory, and Alison Garland as the reserved, old peoples' home cleaner Rachel - both are excellent. For me, another standout performance is that of Leigh-regular (and often overlooked talent) Ruth Sheen as Penny's friend, co-worker and single mother Maureen. Sheen is simply brilliant, alternating between moments of great comedy (which are rare in All Or Nothing) and pathos - as she jokes and then sympathises with daughter Donna (another great early performance by Helen Coker) who is suffering at the hands of her boyfriend Jason (brilliantly played by now-Leigh regular Daniel Mays). Leigh has accurately caught the tone of noughties British urban youth as Donna and tarty neighbour Samantha (yet another top debut performance from Sally Hawkins) jealously argue (straight out of Catherine Tate), and in the exchanges between Donna and Jason (which includes the hilarious exchange, 'I want you to swear on your mother's grave', 'She ain't dead yet'). The final mention on the acting front should go to Marion Bailey as Samantha's mother Carol - a character that is, in effect, the adult equivalent of Corden's Rory, lying around on the sofa all-day (in her case, completely plastered) or embarrassing her friends during the pub karaoke competition. Bailey, of course featured in Leigh's earlier film Meantime, and indeed you can almost imagine the earlier Barbara character developing into this latter day alcoholic (albeit without the social pretensions).

In fact, on the subject of Meantime, for me, All Or Nothing is at times reminiscent of this early Leigh masterpiece in the way that it focuses in uncompromising fashion on a central dysfunctional family (as opposed, for example, to the rather more sympathetic, and comedic, family portrayal contained in Life Is Sweet). Specifically, in All Or Nothing Ben Crompton's portrayal as the outwardly backward character Craig who is infatuated with Hawkins' Samantha is similar to Tim Roth's character portrayal and his infatuation with the Tilley Vosburgh character in the earlier film.

For me, All Or Nothing is a film (like a number of other Leigh films, in fact) which reveals itself on repeat viewings, and, whilst I would not rate it as highly as Meantime, Topsy-Turvy, Secrets And Lies or Naked, it is another essential Leigh film.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 30 May 2012
I'm not normally especially keen on Mike Leigh films, but this one is the best, for me, and I'm convinced it is a masterpiece. The empathy for the characters is unambiguous, particularly the married couple at the heart of it. Timothy Spall has been an anchor in other Leigh films, but here he gives the performance of a lifetime, making us feel the depth of sadness and disillusion of this taxi-driver who has really run out of hope and self-respect. He gets such humanity into the character, so that the events lead to a confrontation between the couple of almost unbearable emotion. Yet it is not as bleak as many of his films, for all the sombreness that characterises much of its running time. I think it is this upward turn that makes it easier to watch than something like Naked, excellent though that film is too. This film shows the flame of human goodness to burn as brightly in this ordinary man as it could in anyone, yet it is the kind of goodness that often passes unnoticed, indeed it does here by most of his family members for most of the film. The daughter is also very touching - just the sight of her walking alone by the river conjures such compassion in the viewer thanks to the subtle way Leigh reveals character and inserts an ordinary but telling moment like this with such a sure sense of timing.
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VINE VOICEon 7 July 2003
Mike Leigh's 'All or Nothing' is a film all about emotions, and how deeply emotional ties within families can run just inches below the surface of everyday life. This is a study of real life, with no frills, and no need for a sensational story or events. Indeed, as such, it is a touch on the heavy-going side, and at times it is pretty depressing stuff... but that is because of the range of emotions that the film explores... loneliness (even within marraige), desperation and hopelessness, the humilation of having to scrape a living and have nothing left at the end of the month, and the sadness of watching love fade. On a par with some of Ken Loach's work, this movie could have been called any number of things, ('Life Is Hard' perhaps??), but is called 'All or Nothing' simply because that is how Phil feels about his faded relationship with his wife. Struggling through life day-to-day, he finally realises that it is the fact that his wife no longer loves him that is the cause of his 'thousand-yard stare', and that he finds the thought of life without her love unbearable. The depth and power of his emotions when he finally confronts his wife about whether she loves him anymore is conveyed perfectly by the two principal actors. Their embrace near the end of the film is one of true passion, and is a hugely emotional and perfectly played scene.
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. The story plays out in a run-down estate in South East London (Greenwich apparently), but could be set anywhere really.
The excellent commentary from Mike Leigh himself is a real treat, and is worthy of a listen, especially if you're interested in the art of filmmaking. Leigh (as usual) takes great delight and obvious pride in describing various aspects about the movie, from the outstanding cast, to the variety of other talented people who put this film together.
I can't see myself watching this film too many times, as like I say, it's not exactly a feel-good movie. Building up slowly, and finishing relatively abruptly, this movie takes a bit of patience and is pretty emotionally draining to watch as well. But it is worth a repeat viewing or two simply to revel in the brilliance of the acting talent on show here. There are very few laughs in this movie... it even makes 'Secrets and Lies' look like a laugh-riot in comparison, but ultimately this film has hope and reconcilliation as it's take home messages, and as such is a fairly uplifting film despite being desperately sad in places.
This film may not impress the Jonathon Ross's of this world, but it sure as hell impressed me (and the judges at the Cannes Film Festival who nominated it for the Palme D'Or in 2002)... but don't take my word for it (or Jonathon Ross's).. watch, learn, and be moved.
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on 4 February 2007
I am a big fan of Mike Leigh films. All or Nothing really makes you think there is always someone else worse off. It is based on a depressing council estate with some wonderful true to life characters. The acting is superb and having seen the special features I have even more admiration as they didn't work off a script - it was improvised!

Although I wouldn't rate it as high as Mike Keigh's previous film 'Secret & Lies, it is still one to watch.
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