3.5 out of 10
Release Date: 16th October 2015
Director: Steven Nesbit (Gloves Off)
Cast: Steven Berkoff, Bernard Hill, Elliott Tittensor, Brad Moore, Geoff Bell, Oliver Cotton, Charlotte Hope, Freema Agyeman, Gary Cargill, Sydney Wade, Dom Monot with Keith Allen, Steve Evets and Greta Scacchi
Writer: Steven Nesbit
Trailer: North V South
The makers of North V South have bothered to conjure a half-decent plot of sorts. It’s a shame then that despite the prescence of some reliable actors, there’s no flare or energy expended here. It’s mainly notable for seeing Steven Berkoff (RED 2) in a rare leading role. As Britpic fans will have noticed, he’s been delivering a string of cameos to low-budget filmmakers for some time now. So it’s good to see him earn his money with extended screen time.
The top firm from North meets up with their opposite number from the South. At the meeting, loose cannon from the South, Gary Little (BRAD MOORE – MONTANA) murders John Claridge’s (BERNARD HILL – DOUBLE X) best mate which kicks off a war of paranoia. The two teams line up as Berkoff, Keith Allen (SHALLOW GRAVE), Geoff Bell (THE BUSINESS) and Moore. From the North there’s Hill, Oliver Cotton (THE DANCER UPSTAIRS), Freema Ageyam (DR WHO) and Elliott Tittensor (SHAMELESS). Little does anybody know, that somehow and quite randomly, the latter is seeing Vic’s (Berkoff) daughter (CHARLOTTE HOPE – I MISS YOU ALREADY). The lovers are working on borrowed time because Brad Moore has discovered their secret. So the tribes go to war in slow motion.
Acting aside, with a particularly good turn from Keith Allen and a reasonably well though out plot, this fails to live up to its promise. With the actors the filmmakers have managed to draw in you’d expect to see a war in progress. But beyond the front line of top men, there’s little evidence of a criminal empire to control. The sub-plot involving the young lovers is a bit insipid too. Elliott Tittensor is miscast as a ‘mob’ enforcer as he’s too small, neat and polite to convince anybody that he could rough them up if they were light that week on paying protection money. Brad Moore is introduced in the credits but we already know him from Montana and The Search For Simon. He is way over the top here and has definitely picked wrong role to showcase his skills as he’s way better in the two aforementioned films.
The plot also includes a child assassin who doubles as a waitress for Bernard Hill. Freema Agyeman is largely wasted in her first film role as a female mob enforcer who’s made to babysit the kid. Oliver Cotton is underused too, so this is largely Berkoff, Tits and Moore’s show. The lack of budget doesn’t help or convince. So we’re left with a floppy, foul-mouthed piece which seems to think a dose of cartoon-violence will save its bacon. An extra dopey duel-narration from the lovers tops up the quota of bad ideas, exposing many of the film’s script weaknesses.
3.5 out of 10 – Straight-forward yet underpowered gangster film with a solid cast. It’s a shame some of these actors couldn’t have been assembled for a better film.
Second review by Joe Pesci II below. He’s a real gangster you know…
- Steven Berkoff: London Heist, Rise of the Footsoldier 2, We Still Kill The Old Way, Red 2, GBH, Strippers Vs. Werewolves, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (US), 44 Inch Chest, The Tourist, Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, The Big I Am, Just For The Record, Dead Cert, Steal, Rancid Aluminium, Fair Game (1994), Decadence, The Krays, Beverly Hills Cop, McVicar, Barry Lyndon, A Clockwork Orange
- Bernard Hill: Wolf Hall (TV), Outpost 11, The Kid (2010), Valkyrie, Franklyn, Joy Division, The League Of Gentleman’s Apocalypse, Wimbledon, Lord Of The Rings – Return Of The King, Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers, The Scorpion King, Going Off Big Time, The Loss Of Sexual Innocence, True Crime, Titanic (1998), The Ghost and The Darkness, Madagascar Skin, Double X, Mountains Of The Moon, Shirley Valentine, Drowning By Numbers, No Surrender, The Chain, The Bounty, Gandhi, Boys From The Black Stuff (TV)
- Elliott Tittensor: Shameless (TV), The Selfish Giant, Spike Island
- Brad Moore: Gloves Off, Writer’s Retreat, Montana, The Search For Simon
- Geoff Bell: Mine, Suffragette, Kingsman – The Secret Service, Comedown, Comes a Bright Day, Storage 24, The Reeds, War Horse, Brighton Rock (2011), Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, Route Irish, Solomon Kane, Mercenaries, Just For The Record, Wild Target (2010), The Heavy, Botched, Freebird, Love Me Still, Tormented, Green Street, The Business, Mean Machine
- Oliver Cotton: Gangs of Tooting Beck, Shanghai Knights, The Dancer Upstairs, The Innocent Sleep, Son of the Pink Panther, Christopher Columbus – The Discovery, The Sicilian, Firefox
- Charlotte Hope: Miss You Already, Game of Thrones (TV)
- Freema Agyeman: Eat Local, Old Jack’s Boat (TV), Law & Order UK (TV), Dr Who (TV), Little Dorrit (TV), Torchwood (TV)
- Gary Cargill: Gloves Off, Hollyoaks (TV), Mersey Beat (TV)
- Keith Allen: Hector, Blood Shot, The Last Showing, Vinyl, The Magnificent Eleven, The Good Night, De-Lovely, 24 Hour Party People, The Others, Rancid Aluminium, Preaching To The Perverted, Twin Town, Trainspotting, Loch Ness, Blue Juice, Shallow Grave, Second Best, Captives, Beyond Bedlam, The Young Americans. The Comic Strip (TV), Carry On Columbus, Rebecca’s Daughters, Kafka, Making Out (TV), Chicago Joe & The Showgirl, Scandal, The Supergrass
- Steve Evets: Rev (TV), The Selfish Giant, The Facility, Spike Island, Anna Karenina (2012), Brighton Rock (2011), Wuthering Heights (2011), A Boy Called Dad, Looking For Eric, Summer (2008)
- Greta Scacchi: The Falling, Brideshead Revisited (2008), Shoot On Sight, Flightplan, Beyond The Sea, Cotton Mary, Tom’s Midnight Garden, The Red Violin, The Serpent’s Kiss, Emma (1996), Cosi, Jefferson In Paris, Country Life, The Browning Version (1994), Salt On Our Skin, The Player, Turtle Beach, Shattered, Presumed Innocent, White Mischief, Defence of the Realm, The Coca-Cola Kid, Heat and Dust