North v South full movie review - A superior film of its genre that should not be so easily dismissed.
I was taken to see this at a preview with a professional colleague and I went mainly on the strength of the cast present, I have to say it was extremely enjoyable, well shot, well paced and while not without its faults one of the better efforts by far of the recent deluge of gangster flicks.
A fairly simple premise, to rival firms, one from London and one from the North, agree a truce and meet up to discuss the terms, but things go awry when one of their number kills a relative of one of the leaders and pretty soon all out war follows. Meanwhile there is a Romeo and Juliet sub plot between two of the younger members of the opposing clans which will lead to greater jeopardy for all involved.
While the film isn't an especially original take on the tired genre it has many things going in its favour. Several heavy weight cast bring gravitas to their roles including Bernard Hill, Steven Berkoff, Oliver Cotton, Geoff Bell and surprisingly Keith Allen who has grown into an incredibly watchable mature actor and this film makes me want to see a great deal more of him. Freema Agyeman also excels in a role she can get her teeth into and Brad Moore is one step away from insane as the catalyst for everything spiralling out of control. The screenplay adds some unusual twists and characters, one being in the form of a French Transvestite (a nice debut by Dom Monot) hit-man/woman and there is a good sense history with these characters - In this world, they feel believable. The film is also shot in a style that looks and feels well considered, with a clear effort to bring mood and originality to the way the film. So my compliments to Kyle Heslop in this regard.
The film does have some weak links however they let it down a little. The romantic subplot feels a little implausible and also unnecessary and while Steve Evets is an actor that holds his own well on screen with any of his co-stars his endless voice over in the film starts to feel far to frequent. I actually wanted to see the film with no voice over at all. The film clearly didn't have the budget to match the scale in which the film is set - so it felt more like town vs town, rather than North Vs South, but it tries very hard and succeeds on many levels.
This film really deserves an audience, far more so than anything with the word 'Hooligan' or 'Essex' in the title that has been made in the last two years and for what it was I really enjoyed it.