From the creator of Smoking Guns, Original Gangster and Red Rage comes Savvas D. Michael’s latest instalment of UK gangster films, a tale about a man called Plato who runs a Greek-Cypriot North London social club, the Bezonians, and when an evening’s poker game gets out of hand he finds himself dangerously caught up with a femme fatale, Lola. Available from Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download from 2nd May.
The film adopts the narrative speaker format successfully established in gangster films like ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Lock Stock’ and is confidently delivered here by Andreas Karras, who plays Plato, but this story has Savvas’ own signature style in provocative storytelling, which this time specialises in some overtly racist, misogynistic and ableist dialogue and action.
Like in Savvas’ previous films, it has a lot of the right ingredients to make a successful gangster genre film. Set in North London at a shady Greek-Cypriot hang out we are introduced to the edgy characters who frequent the seedy looking drinking den like Taz (Jason Duff) the young wild-eyed Irishman with a mohawk hairstyle and Mike Hagler (Chris Tummings) the alleged Jamaican yardie drug dealer.
There is a strong Greek influence from the music to mythological stories. Some of the characters are named after famous ancient Greeks and there are also some unapologetic Greek educational lessons from Plato to his children, which are done with a North London twist. Plato’s wife is played by Marina Sirtis from Star Trek fame, who also continues the children’s Greek education by telling them the story of Orpheus and Eurydice but in a much less macho manner thankfully.
Savvas redresses the balance of some of the openly sexist and misogynistic views by empowering a female boss, Lola (Lois Brabin-Platt), in a leading role, albeit one where she sells counterfeit handbags and runs her own personal sadomasochistic business with her delightfully common sounding North London girl diction. She has a brief flirtation with Achilles the club’s most revered regular, the alpha gangster, played by Savvas himself, who is psychopathically ice cool in all situations but turns into a love sick puppy in Lola’s presence.
Achilles is idolised by Anthony (Jamie Crew) another social club regular who suffers with mental health issues and has a speech impediment that is difficult to watch in its humorous attempts of portrayal. The film’s major coup is getting ex-professional footballer turned Hollywood actor Vinnie Jones to play Willard Greb, the most heinous of gangland mercenaries, something he does with great ease with such lines as, “I’ll see you Saturday”, which he delivers in his instantly recognisable and uncompromising cadence but who looks slightly less comfortable sending himself up as Lola’s doting hitman boyfriend.
There are plenty of bits to enjoy in this London Greek gangster epic by Savvas D. Michael if you don’t mind being offended with his typically un-P.C. style. There are lots of different characters, lots of violence, some comedy skits, a standout wardrobe, stylised set design and music score but somehow the whole does not quite equal the sum of all its parts.
Film: The Bezonians
Director: Savvas D. Michael
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Stars: Vinnie Jones, Marina Sirtis, Lois Brabin-Platt, Savvas D. Michael, Andreas Karras
Run time: 1hr 39min