Review: ‘Everything’

"Everything" is a forcefully executed, slow-burning thriller told through a series of meetings between an aging prostitute and a troubled john. Marked by strong perfs from Ray Winstone and Jan Graveson, this no-frills, nine-day production has the authentic feel and emotional intensity to make its presence felt in some niche situations.

With characters stripped as raw as the seedy London locations they inhabit, “Everything” is a forcefully executed, slow-burning thriller told through a series of meetings between an aging prostitute and a troubled john. Marked by strong perfs from Ray Winstone and Jan Graveson, this no-frills, nine-day production has the authentic feel and emotional intensity to make its presence felt in some niche situations. U.K. release is skedded for October; in the meantime, scripter-helmer Richard Hawkins’ debut can expect to pick up some kudos on fest travels.

Opening finds the bulky frame of Richard (Winstone) ascending rickety stairs to a drab Soho hotel room rented by hooker Naomi (Graveson). Operating at the low end of the market, this brittle blond forces out a weary “ya comin’ in, or what?” upon the new customer’s arrival. After beating a hasty and apologetic exit, the nervous client returns and says he’s interested in talk, not sex.

From their first proper encounter, there’s a warmth and humor between the call-girl with no hang-ups and the buttoned-up client whose vocation remains a mystery until deep into the proceedings. There’s much light-hearted banter about their hands-off arrangement before any real agenda emerges.

Richard has emotional voyeurism urges to satisfy and he’s prepared to pay handsomely for details of Naomi’s work and life. Specifically, he wants to know what her customers do and, in turn, how she can “do it.” The price for such out-of-bounds information goes beyond cash, prompting a series of reverse power plays hinting at a potentially sinister side to Richard’s sexuality.

For all the sparky dialogue and frank sex-talk, pic never loses track of its thriller intentions. Though the world outside Naomi’s chamber is rarely glimpsed, suspense is upped in brief scenes involving a young Belorussian prostitute (Katherine Clisby), Richard’s worried wife (Lindy Sellars) and working girl Anna (Lois Winstone). However, the finale is a tad too conventional, especially considering the elusive nature of what’s come before.

Without grandstanding, both Winstone and newcomer Graveson turn in strong, controlled work. They’re assisted significantly by Hawkins’ surefooted script, which develops its themes of confession and obsession with an unsettling intelligence.

Production is a showcase for what’s achievable with the latest HD technology and do-it-yourself energy. Ole Bratt Birkeland’s mostly hand-held camerawork is a fluid observer during lengthy dialogue scenes, and other tech credits are exemplary. Screening caught was a DigiBeta projection.

Everything

U.K.

Production

A Soda Pictures release (in U.K.) of a High St. Films production, in association with Kandu Arts for Sustainable Development. (International sales: Soda, London.) Produced by Oliver Potterton, Geoffrey Freeman. Co-producers, Michelle Redfern, Ed Deedigan. Directed, written by Richard Hawkins.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Ole Bratt Birkeland; editor, Oliver Potterton; music, Tom Ingleby, Damon Albarn; production designer, Christophe Spurling; art director, Louisa D'Arcy; costume designer, Suzy Peters; sound, John Burns; assistant director, Oliver Stanley; casting, Ed Deedigan. Reviewed at Sydney Film Festival, June 17, 2005. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Ray Winstone, Jan Graveson, Lois Winstone, Katherine Clisby, Lindy Sellars, Ed Deedigan.
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