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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 22 October, 2002, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
All or Nothing
Timothy Spall in

"All or Nothing" is Mike Leigh's latest film.

Timothy Spall plays a South London cabbie suffering a crisis involving his under-nourished marriage and over-nourished children.

(Edited highlights of the panel's review)


MARK LAWSON:
Bonnie Greer, he's experimented with optimism here, did it make you feel happy?

BONNIE GREER:
Yeah, I loved it. It took a while for me to settle into the film, because we're so used to the Hollywood pace, and it takes a while to come into the atmosphere of this film.

Once you let that happen, you start to see this enormously convoluted and complicated character structure. And you enter their world at their pace, at the pace of the film itself. And as you do that, he opens these people up to let you see them actually confront what matters the most to them in life, which is love.

The whole movie is about love. And that's what the title is about. And as you begin to see that, it allows you to go back to the beginning of the movie and see what he was doing. I thought it was marvellous and it made me cry at the end.

TIM LOTT:
You said you were in tears at the end of it, I was in tears almost all the way through the last hour of it. It's one of the most powerful, intense and moving films I've seen in a long time. I think it's Mike Leigh's greatest film.

It is a more mature film and I think there's a genuine compassion for the people involved in it. I think the performances are extraordinary. I totally buy the dialogue. It is very bleak. It is very sad. But it is redeemed at the end.

MARK LAWSON:
Craig Brown, he did seem to be deliberately playing the variations, because he balances the bleakness with love as Tim and Bonnie were saying but also the bleakness and the comedy all the time.

CRAIG BROWN:
Yes, so far I agree with Bonnie and Tim but one mustn't underplay the comedy, which is the reason I like Mike Leigh. It is an incredibly dark comedy. It treads this tightrope between comedy and complete misery.

There's a marvellous moment when this fat son is in hospital having had a mini heart attack. And his mother, played marvellously by Lesley Manville, comes in, and she says, "My little boy." And it is a comic moment, but it's also completely tear-jerking, because it's so true.

And that's what's incredibly admirable about this, it's never farcical, and yet it never loses touch with the comic element.

MARK LAWSON:
There's an issue about who can see these films. He's often connected with Ken Loach and they are two remarkable careers but they've both got this problem, their films are getting 18 certificates, because of the swearing. He's very careful with sexual content in this film, but the swearing alone gets it 18. Does that seem right to you?

CRAIG BROWN:
No, it's completely bonkers. You can't see people immediately doing a Mike Leigh play, obviously there aren't any single plays, disgracefully, on BBC.

But you can see his influence everywhere. The Office, The Royle Family, that kind of naturalism didn't exist before Mike Leigh and it does now, thanks to him.


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