All Things To All Men Reviews
I was surprised to find the writer/director/producer George Isaac is British, considering the many Americanisms applied to British police in this film. Two examples that really got to me were referring to the Professional Standards Department as "Internal Affairs" and to threatening the TDC to things there way so he can "make Detective", 1) as if Detective is a separate rank as in some US police forces, as opposed to a separate function in the UK and 2) as if they have any power to stop it from happening, when it is in fact based on the completion of CPD.
Also, surprising lack of screen time for Toby Stephens who, judging by the beginning of the film, was set to be the main character. He's hardly in the thing and certainly doesn't have enough lines for the actor to do well in the role. The acting all around wasn't bad per se, more lackluster. It was fairly obvious some of them just wanted to finish filming and go home.
Promising cinematography at the beginning, but that grimy artistic smoke-filled vision of London quickly fades for a ridiculously pruned car chase sequence and otherwise standard TV-quality filming. Everything else suggested a fairly decent budget, except for the stupidly brief heist sequence.
Set in modern day London, UK. The issues are criminal activities versus police responses. Riley moves stolen diamonds. Joseph Corso is a crime boss, the 'Merchant' of London; Cutter is his henchman. Mark Corso (Joseph's son) seems to be running drugs, and doing them as well. Parker, Dixon, and Sands are on the New Scotland Yard/Metropolitan Police side of the issues.
By squeezing Mark on cocaine possession, Parker and friends leverage his father Joseph into trapping Riley, who has been skirting Joseph's rules of order. The plans move forward, glacially. Joseph wants his son safe, well-treated, and preferably free; Parker wants Riley in jail and off the streets. At least that is the first story.
Joseph sets up Riley to do 'one more job' that is a complicated heist that has to be done lightning fast. Parker gets Mark back to Joseph. Joseph tells Mark that he is retiring as the Merchant, but that succession is unlikely since Mark is a known addict. So, the stage is fully set.
Given the complicated arrangements, something is bound to break down. Will the cops keep faith with Joseph on the deal? Will Joseph help Riley just enough to get him caught? Will Mark pull a wild card out? Will Riley diagnose the whole setup and get free of it? Where does the difference start between normal police procedure and straight up corruption?
Cinematography: 8/10 A bit too dark for me, but presumably done for effect. Focus and framing and the like were just fine.
Sound: 8/10 The tension building from the background music was good, and the actors seemed to be miked OK.
Acting: 6/10 Normally I like Byrne, Sewell, and Sands. They were fairly good here as well, although perhaps the material was not enough of a challenge for them. I like Toby Stephens as a comedian in television (Vexed) and film (Severance), but not so much as a dramatic actor. I kept expecting a flippant remark or seven together with a sneering smile. Terence Maynard was rather good, and I liked Leo Gregory's performance.
Screenplay: 5/10 How does Riley get shot in the abdomen then can keep going with high-stress muscular maneuvers for a good continuous 20 minutes afterwards? This seems unlikely. The heist succeeding seemed unlikely. The wrong amount of valuables being in the vault open for inspection seemed ridiculous. Normal police discovery seemed to be almost absent. The ending (and much of the plot) reminded me of LA Confidential. This worked in the year in which LA Confidential was set, but not so much in 2013. Perhaps worst of all, the 84 minute play time felt like 130.
"Finally broke your cherry."-Detective (Rufus Sewell)
Has everything a good caper is supposed to have, except women.
ps. this movie was called The Deadly Game in Australia, not even an original title. The Gently Damned would have been better.