running time 125
mins incl ad breaks (Channel 4 film)
Tightrope Pictures for Channel 4
Writer: Tony Grounds
Producer: Hilary Bevan-Jones
UK Transmission: Channel 4 9pm Thursday 11 May 2006
In The Game - Channel 4 Microsite
Interview with Ray about the film from Radio Times 6-12 May 06
Interview with writer Tony Grounds about the film from The Telegraph 6 May 06
Manchester Evening News report on the film and Ray's career 2 May 06
Interview with Ray and Tony Grounds about the film from The Observer 7 May 06
Review from Spiked and comments about the FA anti-hooligan campaign 18 May 06
Ray as Frankie in All In The Game
David Butcher's preview in The Radio Times:
If any youngsters tug your sleeve and ask if they can stay up to watch this football drama starring Ray Winstone, on no account let them. apart from the fact that Winstone swears like a rabid docker throughout, it's a very long way from Roy of the Rovers territory.
Winstone plays Frankie, a blood-and-guts manager of the old school and hero to his club's fans. But behind the scenes, he and his son Martin, a player's agent, are bung junkies, feathering their own next at the expense of the club and its beleaguered chairman.
The plot doesn't so much progress as unravel via various betrayals that leave each character more or less wrecked. It's not easy to watch, but its portrait of football as a giant pigs' trough is horribly powerful. By the end, Winstone's fevered performance as the tormented anti-hero reaches an intensity that feels more RSC than ITV. And boy, can he swear.
Ray Bennett's review in The Hollywood Reporter
Ray Winstone at full throttle is like a force of nature, and he's firing on all cylinders as a passionate but corrupt English Premier League soccer manager in the scalding sports drama "All in the Game." ..... It's Winstone's show, however, making the manager swaggeringly, charmingly and obnoxiously unforgettable. Granada International is handling international sales, and it might need subtitles for some of his authentic Cockney slang. Crude, uncouth, and bitter, Frankie cajoles, bullies, sweet talks and begs in order to get his way, with every second word having four letters. It's a blistering performance.
Andrew Billen's review in The New Statesman
Winstone gives one of those per- formances you want to cut out and paste in your scrapbook, a Führer in the bunker with nice additional lines in self-pity, self-righteousness and self-hatred. His language is violent and often sexual. "You're a c***," he tells his boss, "and that is not a word I often use" (although a Radio Times writer totted up that he uses it seven times during the play). At the end, when he is sacked, Winstone abandons realism and sinks to his knees, tugging at his chairman's trousers for mercy. So the Premiership becomes Greek tragedy.
James Rampton's review/interview in The Scotsman
Ray Winstone was born to play this sheepskin-clad bloke with a vocabulary more Anglo-Saxon than anyone this side of Gordon Ramsay. ...
"Ray's a complete force field," the writer reckons. "He was born to play this bombastic, corruptible manager. Also, there's probably no-one else in the world who swears quite like Ray! Robert De Niro has a lot to learn from him when it comes to visceral snarling. When Ray delivers a line, the poetry of the ordinary man sings out." ....
Winstone fires with both barrels in his performance as Frankie. He clearly feels so passionately about this subject, and he thinks he would be compromised if he reined himself in. "You can only go by what you feel," the actor declares. "If you hold back, you're not telling the story. If you're making a film about a subject and you don't tell it how it is, you're belittling it. Censoring a drama is like taking a painting by Constable and rubbing out half of it."
A A Gills' review in The Sunday Times
....The construction had a faint whisper of Webster and Jacobean tragedy. Ray Winstone played the manager. No, he didnt play him; the manager was written to be Ray Winstone.
There is an intrinsic design flaw in being Ray Winstone, which is that nobody else is Ray Winstone. Its very, very difficult for anyone else to act on the same small screen as him. The hugely popular persona has grown so manically into an operatic cockney Abanazer that he sucks up all the available atmosphere, completely overwhelming the rest of the cast, who, in this case, tiptoed around him as if he were a bee-stung boar in a farrowing pen. The dialogue was all written for Winstones benefit. He didnt just get the best lines, he got them in rhyming slang. And it was bravura stuff, but it played the rest of the production to a standstill. This was a drama of two halves, both being played simultaneously. One was a Winstone masterclass in baroque-ney; the other was with everybody else. The grand comeuppance finale was weirdly like Don Giovanni meets EastEnders.
Winstone is a big draw, one of the few actors who can guarantee to deliver a primetime audience. But he can also almost promise to squash every other performance in the same frame. When he does play it sotto voce, as in Sweeney Todd, we feel sort of cheated. I think the answer is that he should only be cast alongside actors who are as generous with their personalities as he is. Maybe a caper series with Brian Blessed and Dawn French? Its just a thought.
Andrew Anthony's review in The Observer
Winstone is a blinding actor but here he was mostly just effin - though, to be fair, the c-word also got a rare double-airing. He swore at everyone and anyone, including his chairman. It was a grotesque performance completely out of scale with the rest of the production. It was as if his character from Nil By Mouth had turned up in an episode of Dream Team.
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