Directed by ‘Going Clear’s’ Alex Gibney, ‘All Or Nothing’ is a sympathetic look at Sinatra’s life through his music.
As one of the most recognisable voices of the 20th century, much has been written about the colourful life of Frank Sinatra in the years since his death in 1998. But this Sunday night (April 5th ) on HBO, Alex Gibney’s latest documentary All Or Nothing will attempt to provide the most in-depth look yet at both the singer’s career and personal life.
The four hour doc, which airs in two parts on Sunday and Monday at 8pm follows Sinatra from his humble New Jersey beginnings to his ‘retirement concert’ in Los Angeles. The film centers on the 1971 concert at the Ahmanson Theatre and uses each of the 11 songs Sinatra played to represent a chapter in his life.
Using never-before-seen footage from the concert we hear Sinatra tell his story in his own words along with contributions from a range of stars including Martin Scorsese, Bruce Springsteen, Harry Belafonte and Tony Bennett. Sinatra’s first wife Nancy also contributes and the film was made with the co-operation of the late singer’s estate and his two children.
If the name of director Alex Gibney sounds familiar it's because he recently made headlines with another HBO doc, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which attempted to life the lid on the notoriously secretive religion. While All Or Nothing probably wont grab as many headlines as Going Clear, it does serve as a fitting tribute to Sinatra who would have been celebrating his 100th birthday this December.
The one criticism of All Or Nothing seems to be that it offers a little bit too much of a sugar coated look at Sinatra’s life, leaving out some of the more darker aspects. As the New York Daily News puts it, “Director Alex Gibney hasn’t set out to make headlines by focusing on the flaws or the dark side of a life that had plenty of both.”
While The Hollywood Reporter calls it a “watchable but superficial tribute.” But with Sinatra as his latest subject and Going Clear still making waves, Gibney has once again showed why he’s the documentary maker to watch in 2015.
"Gibney is at the top of his game, picking off high-profile subjects that bring a strong commercial streak and event-style heft to the nonfiction form,” writes Variety. “And like the subject of this latest film, he appears to be doing it his way.”
Sinatra: All Or Nothing airs Sunday April 5th and Monday April 6th on HBO at 8pm.