Netflix UK film review: All Things to All Men (The Deadly Game
James R | On 08, Sep 2015
Director: George Isaac
Cast: Toby Stephens, Rufus Sewell, Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands
Watch All Things to All Men online in the UK: Netflix UK / TalkTalk TV / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Rakuten TV / Google Play
All Things to All Men – retitled from The Deadly Game – is a British crime flick with as much ambition as its title. But while similarly cool thrillers, such as Welcome to the Punch, took a more creative approach to their budgets, George Isaac’s movie has a more literal approach to its premise, cutting to London’s tourist landmarks every few minutes, in case we forget where it’s set.
The always-excellent Rufus Sewell stars as Parker, a bent cop who’s been playing the deadly game for yonks. When he finds himself faced with an assassin from the past (Toby Stephens), though, a familiar web of corruption starts to unravel across the UK capital – starting with the son of crime lord Corso (Gabriel Byrne).
It’s an impressive cast that Isaac has lined up. Sewell certainly gives good grit, while Stephens enjoys the chance to play against his smiling type as his stony-faced killer. Julian Sands is just as good as the rookie on the job and Byrne does this kind of thing in his sleep. But even this ensemble can’t overcome the obstacle of Isaac’s script. One L.A. Confidential-style speech only emphasises the story’s shortcomings, which fails to disguise its surprises with its over-complicated trappings.
Isaac does the action well enough, from a heist sequence to an old-fashioned on-foot chase, but those combined with endless tourist-pleasing shots can’t distract us from the stretched screenplay; one scene sees someone go on the London Eye just to make a short phone call, which feels more like a Richard Curtis rip-off than a gangster film. What’s next? A shootout at Battersea Power Station? A kidnapping at Big Ben? Abseiling down the Gherkin? Close to succeeding on its own terms, All Things to All Men never quite pulls off its commendable ambitions. The result may be a good film to some, but it will prove a dully film to many.
All Things to All Men is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.