Despite its stand-out cast performance, THE BEZONIANS is let down by cliches, lack of character development and an incohesive plot.
The world of underground clubs and strong cultural groups is unknown to many. In THE BEZONIANS, director Savvas D Michael takes us into that world of gambling and chancers in a North London social club called the Bezonian, where a mishmash of disparate identities makes up the regular clientele, relieving the monotony of their lives pretending to be the Greek Sopranos.
The plot itself is relatively thin, but notwithstanding, the film makes for an interesting series of vignettes. Character-driven and shown through the eyes of club owner Plato (Andreas Karras), the day-to-day life is paralleled with Greek mythology. Achilles, who has his heel, is a true baddie in Willard Greb, played by Vinnie Jones in a short but powerful appearance and Lola, played by Lois Brabin-Platt, the siren of the tale. However, character development alone is not enough, and the film lacks any momentum and plays very slowly.
Stylishly shot, it does have some very good set pieces in direction, and what it lacks in cohesive plot, it at times makes up for in characterisation. A few of the lead characters are given good backstories, although sadly, too many of them are left as bit players. More character development would have improved the film as it feels in part rather one dimensional, especially in the treatment of women.
There are, however, three standout performances. Chris Tummings as Mike is often mistaken for a Yardie but has a nice line in subtly playing his stereotype up. Achilles, the playboy, is enigmatically portrayed by Savvas D Michael. The developmentally challenged Anthony, portrayed by the award-winning Michael Crew, is in a league of his own.
The story itself is basically North London Greek gangsters, low level but with aspirations. They seem more content with sitting in their taverna believing their own line on mythology; after all, they are Greek. The regular running of the club is disrupted, leading to a showdown that is too long in arriving. It has its moments with some great dialogue, but they are not capitalised on, and a lot of the lines and development can be signposted early on. You simply do not care about some of the characters, and the narrative meanders at points without cohesion. Some scenes provide nothing but titillation and acting that is not up to standard.
In conclusion, THE BEZONIANS had the potential to be a Snatch/Woody Allen hybrid of smaller stories linked in an overall arch. Still, despite glimpses of what could be an interesting film, it is let down by cliches, lack of development and overall, a plot that could have been executed in under an hour. This is a shame as the director, and writer Savvas D Michael could have had a real gem of a film here, but it fails to hit the mark on several levels.
THE BEZONIANS is available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download from 02 May 2022.