One thing about British crime movies they all seem to sing from the same hymn sheet: 99% of time Londoners, full of lowlifes rich & poor, some gangsters and a lot of drug dealers not anything to boast in originality.THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GAME is a movie hoping to break that mould and its the debut feature for Sav Akyuz and Lajauane Lincon who spent there early days together from film school creating a series of short films including Splitwigs (which is now there production companies name).This movie made its world premiere back at Raindance Festival 2010 in September and thanks to Indie Movies Online its now available on Video on Demand.
The film stars Simon Paul Sutton(Shifty) playing Tony Cole a small time drug dealer looking to get out the game and make a fresh start as he wants to improve his future, but his friend Steve (Ben ‘Doc Brown’ Smith) is the opposite seeing the dealing route to easy money selling cocaine to London’s money elite down at the city Canary Wharf. With 10 years behind him in dealing Steve wants to set up a ‘legit’ business selling the coke but a shocking event is about to happen backed with the news his best friend Tony wants out but things backfire with Tony left accused of theft and murder and with only 12 hours to save his bacon Tony must dive into the dark sordid realms of the criminal underworld if he’s to come out alive.
As I said at the beginning of this review virtually all British crime movies and the ones based in London all seem to follow that generic story line and The Other Side of The Game tries its best not to follow that route and at first its does seem to be succeeding a little. Tony and Steve are not your average drug dealers as they are just your average joes instead of the stereotypical lowlife/gangster. What should be asked here is,, how can you tell what a stereotypical drug dealer looks like? Simple answer you cant but Steve seems to have a little bit of nostalgia into the limelight with has regular choice of clients the people with money, high end financial jobs, money to waste and in the 1980’s they would have been your yuppies and in some respect they still are yuppies but now days they don’t drive land rovers and the mobile phones are now more compacted!
One of the reason I started my other Blog Cinehouse was to show my support for independent film making (along with world cinema & arthouse movies) and I like to do my best to be as supportive as I can even when I’m not the biggest fan of that particular film. So when it came to The Other Side of The game I truly wanted to give my support but sadly I couldn’t see very much in terms of positive things to say about it.
The directors attempt to not make Tony & Steve your stereotypical drug dealer was commendable as was the strength of some of the story but when it came to the actual acting it felt very static, like a card box motionless as well emotionless. This movie was a slow burner and you wait patiently for something good to happen and something does happen in the last quarter the boredom factor as well the remote control in hand trying to put me out of my misery. Its also at this point the movie falls back into familiar territory but not a very good one, I waited for Tamer Hassan or Danny Dyer to rear there uglyhead and to be frank they may have helped the movie to up the ante one level and get it out of that Sunday Driver mode into a reasonably pace movie.
Obviously budget constraints were the reasons for limited resources and at £18,000 ($23,000) it was a gallant effort and doing it through the British independent film industry my hat comes off for the directors for doing the best they could. You could see signs that Akyuz & Lajaune have potential to do good in near future sadly this movie isn’t that. Possibly making a movie in a overly used movie sub-genre of crime (gangster) was there possible downfall and as they say maybe a movie genre has to go into hibernation for a few years for people to demand it again, So when it does come back maybe we’ll get something refreshing or original. Its great seeing new filmmakers attempting to bring something new to a movie genre but sadly its a difficult genre to try do something different but well done for trying maybe better luck next. If your wanting to support British movie making be it commercial or independent check out The Other side Of The Game, but for sake of watching a movie I would give this movie a miss.
Drama | UK, 2009 | 15 | Splitwigs | VOD | 7th December 2010 (UK) | Dir:Sav Akyüz, Lajaune Lincoln |Simon Paul Sutton,Bill Fellows, Ben ‘Doc Brown’Smith