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Steven Berkoff film early 2000s



A lot of dross, with Berkoff being used to add a star name to poor films.  Often he is acting for one to two days only.  Charlie shows some good acting by Berkoff (though the film is bad), the rest is often go-through-the-motions stuff.

Steven Berkoff - Rancid Aluminium - title

Rancid Aluminium, a British comedy with two British business men, Rhys Ifans and Joseph Fiennes trying to raise money from the Russian Mafia.

Steven Berkoff - Rancid Aluminium -Rhys Ifans - Joseph Fiennes

Steven Berkoff - Rancid Aluminium - Russian icon

Steven Berkoff - Rancid Aluminium - Berkoff in silhouette

In Russia things become dangerous.

Steven Berkoff - Rancid Aluminium

Steven Berkoff plays the Russian Mafia boss, Mr. Kant, described in the novel by James Hawes "the way there was no gap between his desire and his actions, the sheer beautiful sight, of someone doing exactly what they wanted when they wanted".  The first part of the film is quite funny and Berkoff is very good speaking only Russian. The film becomes boring and Berkoff cannot sustain the Russian and switches to English on and off.

Steven Berkoff - Rancid Aluminium - Rhys Ifans

Directed by Edward Thomas in 2000.  The cinematographer was Tony Imi and the editor was Chris Lawrence.  The music is quite good, particularly David Bowie's Survive.

"Rancid Aluminium is a terrible mess from first-time feature director Ed Thomas, with a screenplay by James Hawes adapted from his own bestselling novel... This film succeeds in getting its cast- some of the brightest and best of British character actors, young and old- to give the worst performances imaginable...  The film-makers clearly have not the slightest interest in how the Russian mafia really look or behave, remaining content with a silly, uninteresting vodka-commercial caricature. This film wastes a lot of talent" ((Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 21 Jan 2000, click here).

“… the film's slapdash contempt for its audience. Just as Berkoff's loan shark Kant is an implausible caricature, the Russia he supposedly represents is simply a patch of wasteland populated by whores and balalaika players. Thomas ventured into Poland for location work, but what he returned with could easily have been filmed in Barking… It would probably be unfair to hold the director solely responsible. Certainly, he does appear more comfortable fetishising his characters' lifestyle accoutrements (getting particularly excited when lingering over a long line of coke) than establishing dramatic tension or reining in his actors' self-indulgent performances. However, James Hawes' script, adapted from his own novel, is where the problems start” (Danny Leigh, BFI Sight and Sound website, n.d., click here).

Steven Berkoff - Rancid Aluminium - title

All images from the film.

Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - title

Beginner's Luck- a group of amateur actors try to stage The Tempest.   Directed by Nick Cohen and James Callis in 2001, their first film.  A funny film, though it tails off a bit. 

Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - Shakespeare The Tempest

Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - Magic Bob

The actors look for a venue.  Steven Berkoff plays Magic Bob, the owner of a strip club and he wants some culture downstairs and strippers upstairs.  The directors say "you don't really direct [Berkoff] as such.  He's a bundle of contradictions; one minute he's incredibly sweet and sensitive, the next he's biting your head off over nothing." (from Hotdog magazine).  In the DVD commentary the directors state that Berkoff improvised most of his lines.

Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - Magic Bob

Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - rehearsal

Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - Theatre Obscur

In Paris they sell no seats and are destitute.

Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - ensemble

They busk on the streets for money.  The scenes as they dance around the Centre Pompidou and through the fountains are among the best.

Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - James Callis - Julie Delpy

Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - James Callis  Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - Julie Delpy

Actor/director James Callis as Mark Feinman trying to bring off the play and Julie Delpy whose Ariel almost rescues the production.

Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - Julie Delpy as Ariel

"I prithee, / Remember I have done thee worthy service, / Told thee no lies, made no mistakings, served / Without or grudge or grumblings" (Ariel in The Tempest, Act I Scene 2).  The script would benefit if more was made of a comparison of the characters in the film and those in the play.

The Director of Photography is Chris Preston and the Editor is Alistair Waterson.  Most mysterious credit is for Scottish Postman Phil McKee- not an acting role but in the credits alongside editing and theme music.

"A....vision of the actor's lot emerges in "Beginner's Luck", a madcap farce based on writer-directors Nicholas Cohen and James Callis' personal experiences of fringe theatre. Callis also appears as young wannabe Mark, whose ambitious plan to stage "The Tempest" in direct competition with a famous actor-manager (Cazenove) comes a cropper at every conceivable turn... Having faced many of the same financial problems as their struggling protagonists, it's a wonder Cohen and Callis ever managed to bring a film to the screen, let alone one so enjoyable. Some will find the luvvie antics insufferable but at least they're true to life, while Julie Delpy is beguiling as the enigmatic French actress who becomes Mark's Ariel, muse, and eventual saviour." (Neil Smith, BBC, 31 May 2002, click here).

The film was probably a day's work for Berkoff.

Steven Berkoff - Beginner's Luck - credit

All images from the film.

Bokshu The Myth Bokshu The Myth

"Silly stuff, were it not for unexpectedly powerful perfs by [Irfan] Khan and Berkoff that bring the whole thing to life" (Deborah Young, Variety, 12 Jun 2006, click here)

Bokshu: The Myth based on the Hindi novel Mriganthak.  2004.  The director is Shyamaprasad: "The film is set in a village called Jaled, somewhere in the Himalayan valley. Two American anthropologists (Heather Prete and David Millbern), come to Jaled in search of their lost professor (Steven Berkoff). The film captures the adventures they encounter, as they meet the high priest of a temple ( Irfan Khan) and his beautiful assistant (Nandana Sen). The story eventually moves to its fantastic climax as the myth of Bokshu is revealed." (Shobha Warrier, Rediff Movies, nd, click here).

According to imdb "The film was played at several film festivals around the world. But it has yet to be officially released. As of March 2015, it is still not released in theatre's or available on DVD" (imdb, accessed 3 Oct 2022, click here).  Kinorium list performance in India Nov amd Dec 2003 and France May 2006 (Kinorium, accessed 3 Oct 2022, click here).

Steven Berkoff - Steal - Riders - title

Steal, also called Riders.  Steven Dorff stars and Gérard Pirès directs.  A troubled film with a number of directors initially involved, and a number of titles (Heist, Hei$t, Riders, $teal, 2-11).  A good action film from 2002.

Steven Berkoff - Steal - Riders

Steven Berkoff - Steal - Riders

A young gang carry out robberies, led by Slim (Stephen Dorff), escaping from one on skates and another underwater.  When one of the robberies uncovers a secret hoard of bearer bonds worth $20 million, the mob becomes involved.

Steven Berkoff - Steal - Riders

Natasha Henstridge plays Karen a detective working on the case who improbably meets Slim by coincidence and has a relationship with him before suspecting he is involved in the robberies. 

Steven Berkoff - Steal - Riders - church

Steven Berkoff appears as Surtayne, a new-born preacher telling children of hell-fire religion...

Steven Berkoff - Steal - Riders

Steven Berkoff - Steal - Riders

...but he is also a hit man.   The mob use Berkoff to find the thieves and their bonds.

Steven Berkoff - Steal - Riders - bath

Steven Berkoff - Steal - Riders - bath

Surtayne relaxing without his wig.

The Director of Photography was Tetsuo Nagata and the editor was Veronique Lange.

"Gérard... Pirès' first outing in English is an 84-minute 'extreme sports' soft drinks ad: the same credibility, the same meticulous characterisation, the same high octane tang. Here are dull stunts; a buffed, cutely multi-racial crew of thieves who don't arouse even mild interest, much less a frisson; and far too much smirking ( SCr, Time Out, 10 Sept 2012, click here).

Steven Berkoff - Steal - Riders - wig

On the DVD extras Berkoff says "I had this wig from another part, a play I did in London many years ago, called Brightion Beach Scubags.  It was about a guy who lived in the 50s"

Steven Berkoff - Steal - Riders - credit

All images from the film and the DVD extras.

Steven Berkoff - 9 Dead Gay Guys - title

9 Dead Gay Guys, a coming-out comedy/mystery film.  Fish from Marillion appears, along with various newcomers to film.  The film had people walking out during the gay sex scenes when it was shown at Cannes.  Hard to understand why, I would expect they would fall asleep watching the film.

Steven Berkoff - 9 Dead Gay Guys - Golders Green

Steven Berkoff - 9 Dead Gay Guys - dead body

Gay Guys are being killed one by one, and there are a raft of suspects.

Steven Berkoff - 9 Dead Gay Guys - Strictly No Breeders

Steven Berkoff - 9 Dead Gay Guys - Glen Mulhern  Steven Berkoff - 9 Dead Gay Guys - Brendan Mackey

Kenny (Glen Mulhern) Byron (Brendan Mackey) are two inocents who fallinto the gay scene.

Steven Berkoff - 9 Dead Gay Guys

Steven Berkoff - 9 Dead Gay Guys

Steven Berkoff - 9 Dead Gay Guys

Steven Berkoff is good as the gay Jeff- his entrance is spectacular.  He ends up as the second dead gay guy.

Written and directed by Lab Ky Mo in 2002.  It was Mo's first film.  The Director of Photography was Damien Elliott and the Editors were Christopher Blunden and Jonathon Braman.

"9 Dead Gay Guys is probably the most offensive and stereotypical queer film I have seen – and it’s also one of the funniest! This black comical farce does not attempt to hide what it is, and even embraces all of its political incorrectness as it dishes out one gag after another as we try to find out why the bodies of the gay guys – all nine of them – are piling up" (Michael J. Deibert, The Queer Queue, 8 May 2021 click here).

"Written and directed by the Chinese-Irish filmmaker Lab Ky Mo, 9 Dead Gay Guys tries to merge the aggressive stylistics of Trainspotting with a black comedy set in London's gay underground. Using every storytelling trick in the book, from flashbacks to voice-over narration to superimposed text, the film strains mightily to be flashy and hip but finishes more in the realm of the merely distasteful" (Dave Kehr, New York Times, 17 Oct 2003).

Steven Berkoff - 9 Dead Gay Guys - credit

All images from the film.

Headrush Headrush

Berkoff acting the uncle, a villain of course, in a black comedy filmed in Ireland.  Directed by Shimmy Markus in 2004 and starring Wuzza Conlon and B.P.Fallon.  The film alternates between nitty-gritty Ireland, to the weird, like a reject from a 1970s hippy film.




Berkoff acts with an Irish accent.  He says "Well I play a rather eccentric character – who’s a kind of Glaswegian villain, living in Ireland, and he’s in the drug trade. And he has this nephew, who was a bit of an innocent, what do you call him? I don’t know... the prodigal son, and he’s got into a little bit of villainy and he thinks he’ll use his uncle to get into some quick money. So he comes to see his uncle, but his uncle is this lunatic, and they don’t realise what they’re letting themselves in for. So basically it’s a kind of an action caper, where I’m playing this guy called ‘Uncle’ who’s a bit of a kind of lad, you know". 

Steven Berkoff in Headrush  Steven Berkoff in Headrush

Steven Berkoff in Headrush

Berkoff, possibly how he felt when he read the script.

Steven Berkoff Headrush

Flashy expensive opening credits which don't really match the mood of the film.  Best name from the closing credits, production advisor Joost van Voorst van Beest.

All images from the film.

Action Man: Robot Atak

Berkoff Robot Atak

Steven Berkoff does the voiceover for cartoon character Dr. X in the Action Man episode Robot Atak!.  Action Man (voiced by Oliver Milburn) has been framed and is wanted as an outlaw.  He has to find out who framed him.  Part of the plot against him is No-Face voiced by Pierre Maubouce- he works on voiceovers and dubbing films into French, including Legionnaire which featured Berkoff.

Action Man Atak No-Face

No-Face is recreating the body of Action Man's nemesis Dr. X (with Berkoff's voice).  Berkoff has lines like "All in good time muy trusty minion".  The weapons of Dr. X include a shoulder held flame thrower and an acetylene torch both of which could be handy if he ever needs to some DIY about the house.

Dr X in Action Man Atak

Of course Dr. X wants to destroy the world and Action Man has to track him down...

Action Man Robot Atak

... but it is not too hard to work out which island Dr. X has his base.

Action Man Robot Atak

On the way Action Man rescues the gorilla Kongo who was being experimented on, and later Kongo saves Action Man's life.

Action Man Robot Atak Kongo

Obviously for children, but it does seem a bit predictable.  Better would be film of Berkoff doing the voiceover including grunts and groans in the fight sequence.

Steven Berkoff Action Man Robot Atak

All images from the film.


Steven Berkoff - Charlie - title

Charlie, a film about London gangster Charlie Richardson who operated in London in the 1960s at the same time as the Kray twins.

Steven Berkoff - Charlie Richarsson - Luuk Goss

Luke Goss of pop group Bros stars as Charlie- he is fine but not exceptional, and the film suffers from comparisons with The Krays.

 Steven Berkoff - Charlie - father

Steven Berkoff plays Charlie Richardson Snr, father of Charlie.  Berkoff is soft-spoken and gives a good performance different from his usual henchman role.  On the DVD commentary the director says "Steven was great to work with.  Nothing was too much trouble".

Steven Berkoff - Charlie 

The film is based round a court trial with flash-backs.  Many of these seem to relish in torture scenes.

Steven Berkoff - Charlie

Antony Carrick as Justice Lawton.  It is clear the judge will ensure there is a guilty verdict.  Richardson is sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Steven Berkoff - Charlie - cameo

The real Charlie Richardson makes a cameo appearance- far right with white beard.  Charlie's son also makes a cameo.

"Charlie Richardson… was the head of the notorious Richardson gang, the main criminal rivals to the Krays in the 1960s. In 1967 he was sentenced to 25 years following the so-called "torture trial" in which it was alleged that the gang's victims were subjected to horrific violence… The Richardsons clashed with the Krays and there were two related killings in 1966: a Kray associate, "Dickie" Hart, was shot dead at Mr Smith's club in Catford, south London, and a member of the Richardson gang, George Cornell, was murdered by Ronnie Kray at the Blind Beggar in east London." (Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, 20 Sep 2012, click here).  In the film The Krays Steven Berkoff played George Cornell.

Directed by Malcolm Needs in 2003.  The direction is at times pretentious and dated, with poor spilt screen images.  The Director of Photography was Zoran Veljkovic and editors were Toby Yates and Jeremy Gibbs.

A good choice of music, Billy Fury singing Wondrous Place.

Steven Berkoff - Charlie - credit

All images from the film.

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