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The Bezonians (2021) Review

The Bezonians is billed as a British gangster film, and the opening in which Willard Greb (Vinnie Jones, I Am Vengeance: Retaliation, Escape Plan) kills a bound and bloodied man along with his wife and child certainly makes it seem like one. We see this while his friend and big-time heroin dealer Adonis (John Ioannou, The Greek Tycoon, Avengement) advises Plato (Andreas Karras, The Kill Team, Righteous Villains) to run far away and never look back.

The film then swings back in time to show us why he’s being advised to run from this particular hitman. And for about half an hour we get to meet the regulars at Plato’s club, The Bezonians, a gathering place for London’s Greek community. There’s Plato’s wife Helena (Marina Sirtis, 5th Passenger, Star Trek: The Next Generation), local legend Achilles (Savvas D. Michael, Smoking Guns, Original Gangster), badass Costas (Peter Polycarpou), Taz (Jason Duff, Red Devil) who resells weed from Plato, Mavro Mike (Chris Tummings, Water, Deadmeat), Anthony (Jamie Crew, Villain) who is somewhat mentally challenged and a few others. They spend their time hanging out, partying with the strippers, and scheming about how to make it big.

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It all starts to feel like a lighthearted ensemble dramedy until Plato gets into a card game with Lola (Lois Brabin-Platt, Bull) and comes out on the losing end by £50,000. He has one week to come up with the money or her boyfriend, you guessed it, Willard Greb will come calling.

Unfortunately, this goes on a bit too long and The Bezonians starts to drag before the plot picks back up again. It also doesn’t help that Anthony, while meant to be sympathetic, is portrayed in a way that is more annoying than anything else. He’s more of a stereotype of a person with mental issues than an actual character.

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Even though we first meet Lola around the half-hour mark, it’s a lot closer to halfway through the film before the fateful card game occurs, and only in the last half hour does any sense of menace develop. There is one fight with the large brothers of a Madame who has a beef with the club, but that’s it for action, really. How much you enjoy The Bezonians’ first act will depend on how much you like the characters. I found them mostly interesting, but the film really needed to get down to business quicker.

After the chips fall, so to speak, The Bezonians becomes a study in friendship and loyalty as we see who among the regulars is willing to stand with Plato as the clock ticks and the threat of deadly violence becomes more pronounced.

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In the end, The Bezonians is much more of a crime drama than a thriller or action film. And once I wrapped my head around that, I liked it a bit more. Unfortunately, hyping a film as a gangster story and top billing Vinnie Jones, who only has a handful of scenes, creates the kind of expectations the film doesn’t meet.

If you go into The Bezonians knowing that it’s going to be a character study with some thrills and violence thrown in rather than a typical gangster film, there’s a good chance that you’ll enjoy it. Just don’t take the poster at face value, and be prepared for an ending that’s a lot stronger than it has a right to be.

The Bezonians will be available in selected theatres as well as on DVD and all major VOD platforms in the UK from 2nd May via Saints & Savages. It’s already available on Digital in the US via their partner SP Releasing. And if you need something to watch while you wait for the 2nd, FilmTagger may have what you’re looking for.

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