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For decades the criminal underworlds of the North and South bumped along begrudgingly. Like the Cold War, territories were respected out of the necessity to avoid apocalypse, with each side keeping tabs on the other’s capability. Such a precarious false harmony could not last forever. Now someone has crossed the line, and there’s no going back. An illicit love affair smolders, breaking taboo and threatening catastrophe at the smallest mistake. It is a romance of purest, unadulterated love, yet so forbidden that its discovery would wreak total carnage. The story is told through vignettes of strikingly original characters, with intertwining subplots that echo the complexity of life in the dog-eat-dog criminal underworld.

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North v South movie full length review - Pretentious, over ambitious Brit gangster entry flick

STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

For decades, rivalries between the criminal gangs from the North and South of England have been kept under wraps by means of open talks and civility. But crazed Londoner Gary (Brad Moore) has just killed Northerner Alf (Steve Evets) over a disagreement over a drug deal, which tears the whole truce apart. Meanwhile, young pretender Terry (Elliott Tittensor) has fallen in love with Willow (Charlotte Hope), the daughter of London crime lord Vic (Steven Berkoff), which further inflames matters. With Gary running around trying play both sides off against each other for his own personal gain, it sets the ball in motion for a devastating and bloody turf war.

This latest addition in what is hardly an unfamiliar plethora of cheap and easy British gangster flicks was lucky enough to enjoy a little run at the cinema, but that's probably the only thing that serves as a distinction between it and the countless other films of its type out there. There's a pretty even split between those set in the North and South, and so its an interesting idea to pitch what would happen if the two were to collide, but sadly this formulaic, by the numbers effort, with ideas above its station, doesn't make the most of it.

A host of familiar faces to the genre are splashed on display, with veteran Berkoff as the Southern boss doing his usual over emotive, raging villain act, while other established performers such as Tom Bell and even Keith Allen also make their presence felt. But the script sadly cannot match their veracity, coming off very Goodfellas lite, with young star/narrator Tittensor providing voice overs explaining how things are working and what his role in it all is. Too many characters and plot lines are thrown in all at once, and they all prove too inconsistent to care about.

The obviously low budget would be easier to overlook if all the other faults weren't so apparent, but as it is, it's cheap and cheerless. *