Have you ever been to see one of those films where it’s so uninspiring that you can’t find the words to explain why it was so uninspiring?
Have you ever had one of those days where you go to a dull film and end up losing your ability to have an analytical discussion about why you didn’t like said film, when asked for your opinion about it?
Have you ever experienced one of those awkward situations where you want to write a civilised critique about a film you just saw, but the film sucks the life out of you so bad that you suffer horrible writer’s block and instead start writing overly wordy sentences, and repetitive rhetorical questions just to have an adequate word count?
Well, I certainly have/am/did. Those are the side-effects I’m currently suffering from after seeing All for One – a rather disappointing documentary about a team of Australian cyclists who spend five years training to ride in the infamous Tour De France.
What I thought would be an uplifting flick about hope, adventure, mateship and the Aussie spirit, turned out to be a numb experience, that has literally sucked the joy out of me, and left me struggling to write the review I want (the words you are reading now are the result of me giving up on trying to be mature and structural in my criticism and just writing whatever tripe comes to my mind).
All for One is a complete mess. It’s half-arsed, it has no focus, it has very little to share, it can’t make up its mind if it wants to tell the story of the riders or the trainers or the race itself, the interviews are weak and uninteresting, the day-in-the-life footage they shot (shots of the riders training, the team hanging out, etc) is mundane and repetitive (and psychologically disturbing during scenes where cyclists have bloody collisions, or where we see the trainers go on violent rants), and the occasional fun facts they weave in about the Tour De France’s colourful history is (ironically) colourless and at times desperate to be entertaining. It’s as if the filmmakers put no effort into their baby at all!
The only bits that are interesting are the harsh realities we see of how life-threatening the Tour De France can be (making you think twice about the contempt we seem to show towards cyclists in Australia), the costumed eccentrics that can be found amongst the crowds of these races, and one entertaining Homer Simpson-esque moment where the Australian team get their tour bus stuck at the finish line while trying to find a parking spot for their vehicle.
But that aside, this documentary offers nothing. All for One is a soul crushing piece of work. It’s emotionally empty and depressingly insulting to those who expect to see good quality filmmaking, as well as those with a passion for cycling. It’s not worth your time or your money.