Review: 'All Things To All Men'

TNT24, 30 March 2013
By Victoria Mary Clarke

It was an exceedingly cold morning. Excruciating, in fact. The central heating had stopped working and outside there were blizzards blowing.

Myself and Shane MacGowan (my muse and constant companion) were huddled in the bed where it was warm and that was where I wanted to stay. And would have stayed. Except for the fact that I had been invited to a press screening of a film called ‘All Things To All Men’, starring Toby Stephens, Rufus Sewell and Gabriel Byrne.

And it is a testament to the allure of these lovely luvvies that I braced myself and ventured out from under the covers and went to see the film.

If you have ever been to a press screening you will know that they are not the glamorous and exclusive events that their name suggests. They generally happen at around ten in the morning, which is not a healthy time to be watching films. At that time of day, the heating has barely been switched on in the cinema, and the atmosphere is frosty.

The members of the Press are also rather cool, (or perhaps we like to think we are cool) and because of this we sit as far apart as it is possible to sit and studiously ignore each other while we pretend to be taking notes. I suspect that a group of hitmen (and women) would be warmer towards our peers.

However, I digress. None of this is of interest to you. What you want to know is was it any good, the film?

The answer to your question is yes.

‘All Things To All Men’ is basically a cop-thriller. There have been a glut of cop thrillers of late and quite often the plots are predictable. But not this one. This one is seriously complicated. I had absolutely no clue what was happening. Not a notion. But I was gripped. I clung to my cappuccino for dear life, from the moment it started.

It is important to mention that on the screen, nobody was smiling. Especially not Toby Stephens. Rufus Sewell gave a hint of a smirk at one point, but apart from that everyone was deadly serious, which is something I appreciate in a thriller. Personally, I am not one for thrillers that pretend to be comedies and killers who joke about cheese burgers. If the characters aren’t taking the thing seriously, how do they expect me to take it seriously?

Gabriel Byrne is one of my favourite actors, partly because he is hot and partly because he is equally convincing in the role of a sensitive, vulnerable, needy guy as he is in the role of a hard nosed violent and ruthless bully. He is a proper actor, in other words. And he is magnificent in this film. Moody, menacing and also rather dashing.

The other thing that is truly excellent about the film is the cinematography, which comes courtesy of cinematographer Howard Atherton ('Indecent Proposal', 'Fatal Attraction'.) London is an intrinsically cinematic city, but in the wrong hands it can look drab and colourless. Not in this case. They make full use of the landmarks, with great chase scenes in the City and wonderful bits at Battersea Power Station, and even an afternoon tea at The Grosvenor House on Park Lane with Gabriel daintily sipping tea from a Wedgewood china cup.

‘All Things To All Men’ is both written and directed by George Isaac who produced ‘Kidulthood’ and ‘Adulthood’. It is his first feature. It is worth getting out of bed for. Even if you were in bed with Shane MacGowan.

Released in cinemas nationwide on 5th April 2013

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