Police officer Parker (Rufus Sewell) and London crime boss Joseph Corso (Gabriel Byrne) begin a deadly game of cat and mouse, after Corso’s son is arrested.
At least, I think that was what was going on. All Things to All Men does not seem like an overly complex film, but it feels as though the film was edited to death, leaving it muddled and incoherent.
This is George Isaac’s first outing as a writer and director – he previously worked as a producer on Kidulthood and Adulthood. Either Isaac is a terrible writer and visionless director, which seems unlikely, or the film was chopped in the editing room, so as to be unrecognisable. Arriving in cinemas in the wake of two other British crime thrillers – Trance and Welcome to the Punch – All Things to All Men is an example of British filmmaking at its worst.
Lead character Parker, played by Rufus Sewell, appears to be entirely free from motivation. The character plays everyone around him, and weaves them into his web of corruption and crime, but the audience never really knows why. Money? Power? Who knows! Sewell is backed up by Terence Maynard and Leo Gregory who fill the roles of ‘bad cop who is not as bad as the real bad cop’, and ‘rookie cop’, respectively. They do what they can with what they are given, but other than spouting clichés and outlining plot points at one another, neither actor really gets a fighting chance.
Gabriel Byrne hams it up as the ‘Merchant’ of London; it seems that the actor is channelling every bad Mafia Boss performance imaginable, with affection for his no-good son thrown into the mix. Toby Stevens plays a sniper thief or something. It’s hard to tell sometimes.
As mentioned, the story is barely held together with the thinnest string of sanity – it’s probably just best not to think about the story too much – but none of the characters seem to go on any kind of emotional journey until the last five minutes, when it is simply too late to pull the film back from the edge. The direction is a mess and at times, the actors seem as confused as the audience will surely be.
All Things to All Men is one of the least coherent films of recent years. None of the actors are given a chance to delineate or form an actual character and the story is almost impossible to follow.