Edinburgh International Film Festival

North v South (2015)

Starring: Brad Moore, Bernard Hill, Steven Berkoff, Freema Agyeman, Elliott Tittensor, Charlotte Hope, Keith Allen, Geoff Bell, Steve Evets, Greta Scacchi, Sydney Wade, Gary Cargill, Dom Monot, Roger Nevarez

Directed by: Steven Nesbit

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

Elliot Tittensor and Charlotte Hope in North v SouthBrit gangster flick North v South begins with two rival organised crime mobs facing each other across a table. As the camera pans along the line-up, it reveals a veritable who's who of brilliant bonkers British talent. On one side we have that master of unbridled rage Steven Berkoff, apoplectic as the boss of the south, lizardy lieutenant Keith Allan at his side. Opposite him is a bluff, belligerent Bernard Hill, the boss of the north. Not so bonkers but equally brilliant is his kickass captain, Freema Agyeman. And then we have relative newcomer Brad Moore as the utterly unhinged cockney wideboy Gary, who kills a clown (seriously) in the first five minutes of the film. Throw in a cross-dressing contract killer and two star-crossed lovers Terry (Elliott Tittensor) a reluctant gangster from a northern crime dynasty, and Vic's daughter Willow (Charlotte Hope) (not sure how they actually met - the flashback makes it look as if they first locked eyes and lips at a social for gangsters' children) and the stage is set for mayhem.

North v South is a hugely entertaining if at times completely farcical take on the criminal underworld: Martina Cole meets the Marx Brothers. Elbowing its way between the comic book violence and bombastic scenery chewing, the embarrassingly naive love story barely gets a look in (do young people really say things like 'You're my world - I'm nothing without you' to each other? I never did, and I'm a big softie!) but adds a certain sweetness and sense of redemption to the mix.

Daft, deliciously dark and knee-deep in terrible north/south stereotypes, North v South is ridiculous but a lot of fun, and worth the price of a ticket just to hear Steven Berkoff deliver the best sweary line in screen history. The only two words I can repeat here are 'toast' and 'frog'. Go figure... And if you can’t work it out, go see North v South.

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