All Things to All Men
Film Title: All Things to All Men
Director: George Isaac
Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Rufus Sewell, Toby Stephens, Elsa Pataky, Gil Darnell
Running Time: 84 min
Oh, dear. It looks as if Boris Johnson’s tourism Johnnies have got their fingers in this underpowered geezer thriller. There’s the Gherkin. Here’s the BBC. Look, it’s London Bridge. Now a phone call is being taken from a pod at the top of London Eye. “Where shall we meet?” somebody asks. “At Battersea Power Station,” he’s told. Really? Why not at Madam Taussauds or The Tower of London?
Anyway, George Isaac’s bafflingly titled All Things to All Men has bigger problems than its characters’ determination to behave like bleeding tourists. It actually starts off in a reasonably sensible place as Toby Stephens, a jewel thief who dresses like a movie jewel thief, finds himself tangled in a scheme involving gruff hoodlum Gabriel Byrne and bad cop Rufus Sewell.
It goes like this: Sewell arrests Byrne’s useless son and uses the leverage to persuade our Gabriel to secure Toby’s services for some unimaginably big job. Then they all drive off to catch the Changing of the Guard before dinner at the Hard Rock Café.
You wait an aeon for one overcomplicated, gun-metal blue London thriller to come your way and then, in the fashion of that city’s double-decker buses, three arrive almost at once. Danny Boyle’s Trance (only okay) was better than Welcome to the Punch (barely okay) which is better than All Things to All Men (read on).
The performances are perfectly decent. Byrne has been doing the exhausted villain for so long that – as comprehensively proved here – he can deliver while clinically comatose. Sewell is nice and slimy. Stephens is convincingly slick.
Unfortunately, Isaac’s script can’t seem to decide whose story to tell. Everybody’s a supporting player. Nobody finds a trajectory worth following. Everybody is modestly corrupt. Nobody is believably conflicted.