|Film review: All Things to All Men|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Thursday, 04 April 2013 09:51|
Director: George Isaac
Hot on the heels of Eran Creevy's slick cat-and-mouse chase Welcome to the Punch comes All Things to All Men, a Brit crime flick with as much ambition as its title. But where Punch abstracted London, filtering it through layers of Hong Kong cool, George Isaac’s thriller takes a more literal approach to the capital, breaking out the tourist traps every few minutes. If it wasn’t for the presence of a talented cast and a few decent set pieces, it could almost be a tourist video.
Rufus Sewell gives good grit as veteran cop Parker, who’s been playing the game for years But when he finds himself faced with an assassin from the past (Toby Stephens), a familiar web of corruption starts to unravel – starting with the son of crime lord Corso (Gabriel Byrne).
It’s passable entertainment and debut director Isaac can do action, piecing together an impressive heist and an old-school on-foot chase, but his writing is where All Things slips; Toby Stephens enjoys the chance to play stony-faced bastard, Julian Sands is good as a rookie learning the beat, and Gabriel Byrne could play menacing gangster in his sleep, but when faced with corny lines like “I work alone”, an on-form ensemble can only go so far. One speech is highly reminiscent of L.A. Confidential – and when the script’s surprise twist is easy to guess, over-complicating the plot to imitate genre classics doesn’t do it any favours.
Isaacs distracts us from the stretched script by liberally peppering the screen with famous landmarks: by the time you’ve seen someone go on the London Eye just to make a short phone call, the barrage of iconic locations cancels out the tension. It's like Richard Curtis made a gangster film. You end up waiting for any other possible combinations: a shootout at Battersea Power Station; someone eating a sandwich by Big Ben; or reading a text message inside St. Paul’s. It’s a shame, because the recession-referencing drama is close to being quality low-key entertainment. All Things to All Men? Good film to some. Dull film to many.
This review was originally published at Cine-Vue.