REVIEW: All The Way (2016)

All The Way - HBO - Poster
Poster – HBO Films

The following is a review of HBO Films’ All The Way, based on the Robert Schenkkan play of the same name.

Jay Roach, who had worked with Bryan Cranston on 2015’s Trumbo, teams up with Bryan Cranston yet again, this time by adapting the play that Cranston won a Tony Award for in 2014. Cranston has become one of the very best, if not the very best, actor during what is now known as the golden age of television, and his performance in this adaptation of All The Way should earn him another Emmy nomination, at the very least.

All The Way follows President Lyndon B. Johnson (played by Bryan Cranston) from the days after becoming the new President to the landslide election of 1964. We are given an opportunity to look inside the relationships LBJ had with his wife (played by Melissa Leo), the director of the FBI, the African-American Civil Rights Movement, as well as his relationship with his trusted friend Walter Jenkins (played by Todd Weeks).

All The Way has some noticeable issues, but, for the most part, Jay Roach has given HBO a pretty remarkable film. The film is a bit too long for my liking. All The Way is overstuffed with somewhat unnecessary subplots and characters. Some things just don’t feel all that important for the story this film is telling.

This movie is about both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the President, but I do think the plot could have been a bit tighter. But while the story is interesting, it is the performances that elevate the film to another level. Strong actors and actresses like Anthony Mackie, who plays Martin Luther King, Jr., and Melissa Leo give solid performances, but Bryan Cranston is the ultimate star of the film.

Cranston overcomes the makeup and the accent to give an inspired performance as President Lyndon B. Johnson. You forget it is Cranston playing the part pretty early on. It would not be misguided to compare Cranston’s incredible performance as President Johnson to what Daniel Day-Lewis did with his part in Spielberg’s Lincoln from 2012. All The Way is definitely worth your time, and Cranston has, once again, given a performance to remember.

8 out of 10

– I’m Jeffrey Rex

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