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All Or Nothing (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • All Or Nothing (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: October 26th, 2021.
    Director: Mike Leigh
    Cast: Marion Bailey, James Corden, Lesley Manville, Daniel Mays, Ruth Sheen, Sally Hawkins
    Year: 2002
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    All Or Nothing – Movie Review:

    Written and directed by Mike Leigh, 2002’s All Or Nothing is a slice of life film set in what was, at the time it was filmed, the London, England of the modern day. The story begins revolves around three different working class families and their various plights as their lives intertwine in the government housing section that they all live in until something happens that changes things for them (we won’t spoil that here), at least in a sense.

    First we meet a nursing home employee named Rachel (Alison Garland). Her father, Phil (Timothy Spall), is a cab driver while her mother, Penny (Leslie Manville), works at a local grocery store. Rachel also has a brother named Rory (James Corden), a teenager with a knack for getting into trouble and unhealthy life choices. When he gets on the wrong side of a gang and is roughed up, he winds up having a heart attack and being rushed to the hospital.

    One of Penny’s co-workers is Maureen (Ruth Sheen), is a single mother whose daughter Donna (Helen Coker) works as a waitress and who, despite tacking the proper pharmaceutical precautions, gets knocked up by her boyfriend, Jason (Daniel Mays), which leads to no shortage of tension between the three of them.

    Ron (Paul Jesson) also drives a cab. He’s got a teenaged daughter with his wife, Carol (Marion Bailey), named Samantha (Sally Hawkins) who, like Rory, can’t be bothered to try and find a job. Carol doesn’t work either; she prefers hiding from her problems inside a bottle. Things get complicated when Samantha starts to show affection for Jason.

    A poignant and often times very grim drama about the struggles of everyday people, All Or Nothing isn’t exactly ‘feel good movie of the year’ material but it is an extremely well-acted drama populated with believable, realistic characters. Frequent doses of effective, grounded humor do sometimes help to keep things from getting too glum, but for the most part the characters would rather escape into sex or substance abuse or simply zone out in front of the TV than deal with much of what life throws at them. With little in the way of prospects in life, it’s hard to really blame them. The characters in the film are more or less trapped in low income jobs with slim to no chance or rising out of the poverty they’ve all been born into and making a better life for themselves.

    At the same time, Leigh infuses this motley assortment of troubled Brits with a whole lot of personality, and flawed or not, most of them are pretty likeable. Full credit goes to a ridiculously talented cast for bringing these people to life and got getting us to engage with their various plights as eagerly as we do. Leigh’s direction isn’t flashy but it’s solid and the script is really strong. This may seem like an odd choice from the label that gave us The Sinful Dwarf and the XXX version of The Beast In Space, but a good movie is a good movie and All Or Nothing is a very good movie.

    All Or Nothing – Blu-ray Review:

    Severin Films brings All Or Nothing to Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 widescreen with the feature using up 41.2GBs of space on the dual-layered, 50GB disc, ‘newly scanned from the original negative.’ Taken from a transfer we can safely assume was completed by Studio Canal, since their logo precedes the feature, the picture quality here is excellent. There’s lots of detail in pretty much every frame and while this isn’t the most color production you’re ever going to see, the Earth tones that are so prominent in the film are reproduced well. Black levels are solid as well, and skin tones look nice and lifelike. No problems with any compression issues or noise reduction to note, this all shapes up very nicely.

    English language audio is offered in DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 options with subtitles available in English SDH. Audio quality is also very strong. This is a very dialogue heavy picture, it isn’t full of action set pieces or anything, but the 5.1 mix does spread out the score and occasionally the effects work pretty nicely. The dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow and the track is properly balanced with no hiss or distortion related issues.

    As far as extras are concerned, we start with a featurette entitled Mike Leigh On All Or Nothing, which is a twenty-seven minute piece recorded in June of 2021 where the filmmaker speaks quite candidly about how he met and came to work with producer Simon Channing Williams, his own reputation as 'The London Filmmaker,' why he makes his films in London in the first place, how he lucked into having pretty much an entire housing estate to use for the film, the themes that the film explores and the approach taken to exploring them in the film, working with the cast and crew members on the picture, his writing process and the importance of rehearsing with his cast, only sharing details of his projects with certain cast and crew members at specific times, critical response to the bleakness of some of his work, and how All Or Nothing occupies “its own special place of being a film about what it's about.”

    In Cinematographer Dick Pope On All Or Nothing we spend seventeen minutes with the man as he talks about meeting Leigh in 1990 and collaborating on Life Is Sweet, getting his start doing music videos and documentaries, his appreciation for Leigh's work, Leigh's directing style and how they work together, the importance of observing what the actors are doing and following them as they do it, working under different production schedules and time lines, the housing project locations used for All Or Nothing and why the families all live on the top floor and quite a bit more.

    Lastly, Love Thy Neighbour is a featurette made up of interviews with Actors Marion Bailey, James Corden, Lesley Manville, Daniel Mays and Ruth Sheen that runs for forty minutes. They cover what it's like to work with Mike Leigh, how he typically comes to his actors and says that he wants them in a specific project without telling them anything about it, the casting process, what he's like as a director and how they all get along with him, the first impressions that he makes, collaborating with him on the script as they work their way through rehearsals, the characters and themes that populate the movie, the importance of key scenes, living as their characters and the organic nature of Leigh's filmmaking process.

    The disc also includes a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection.

    All Or Nothing – The Final Word:

    All Or Nothing is an extremely well made film, an honest slice of life picture that features strong direction and some excellent performances. Severin’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds very good and features a nice selection of supplements to complement the feature and document its making. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized The All Or Nothing Blu-ray screen caps!






























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