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Steven Berkoff film 2010s


Berkoff's film career revives with roles in major films such as The Tourist and The Girl with the Green Tattoo.

Perfect Life Perfect Life

Perfect Victims

Perfect Victims

Josef Rusnak directs and Jesse Bradford stars in a confused story with little interest.  The films starts with strange editing effects, presumably trying to come up with the unique editing of Easy Rider but failing.  After about 20 minutes this editing style is dropped.   The film links childhood memories with drug induced bravado.  But it fails on all fronts and is pretentious and tedious.  The two covers show it is another film the marketing department couldn't decide on- I doubt they watched the film to the end.

A Perfect Life

Berkoff has a more prominent role that in other films from this period, and is good in his role with a perceptive gentleness.   He acts well.

In the USA it is called Perfect Victims.  2010.  Actresses Emily Hamilton and Eliza Bennett also appeared with Berkoff in Hans Christian Andersen and By the Pricking of my Thumbs respectively, and editor Peter Davies also edited Berkoff in Octopussy.

The non-artistic credits include "taxi hire"- does this need to be credited?  But the best name from the credits is stunt performer Nicolas de Pruyssenaere- his personal website is here.

Steven Berkoff - The Big I Am - title

The Big I Am, a British gangster story and a first film by director Nic Auerbach in 2010.

Steven Berkoff - The Big I Am - Phil Davis

Stubbs (Phil Davis) is a gang leader and after a tip he plans to kill a rival gang leader.

 Steven Berkoff - The Big I Am - Vincent Regan

The rival gang leader Barber (Vincent Regan) is beaten, tied up and bundled into a car boot to be taken away for execution.

Steven Berkoff - The Big I Am - Leo Gregory - Mikey

Hapless Mikey Skinner (Leo Gregory), a small time crook, steals the car and unwittingly saves the Barber.  The gang leader knows someone has betrayed him, but doesn't know who, so when he is arrested he makes Skinner, the only person he knew did not betray hum, the acting leader of the gang. 

Steven Berkoff - The Big I Am - Beatrice Rosen

Steven Berkoff - The Big I Am - Beatrice Rosen - Leo Gregory

Steven Berkoff - The Big I Am - Leo Gregory

Liza (Beatrice Rosen) is the gangster's moll, but proves she is more intelligent than she lets on "If you want to be boss you have to dress boss".

Steven Berkoff - The Big I Am - Michael Madsen  Steven Berkoff - The Big I Am - Michael Madsen

Steven Berkoff - The Big I Am

Leo Gregory stars and Steven Berkoff and Michael Madsen are there to add some star quality.  Madsen has a larger role but doesn't make anything of it, and Berkoff a small role (I guess one day's filming) as an auctioneer selling off trafficked women who will be forced to become prostitutes.  In the credits his role is given as "Mc"- shouldn't it be "MC" for Master of Ceremonies? 

Robert Fucilla plays Floyd, and is also Executive Producer, Producer and Consulting Producer.  William and Anthony Fucilla are Production Managers.  Not difficult to work out why the film lacks edge.

The film tries to be a Pulp Fiction, with interwoven strands of story and bursts of violence,  but it only rarely rises beyond the tedious.

"Somehow, the novice film-maker [Robert Fucilla] secured more than £1m from investors, assembled a solid, homegrown cast that included Phil Davis, Paul Kaye and Steven Berkoff, and in Michael Madsen- the psychopathic Mr Blonde in Reservoir Dogs- he even had a bona fide Hollywood name... Almost immediately, however, producer and director began pulling in different directions. 'I saw our film as a classic English gangster movie,' Fucilla says. 'The investors were happy because we thought it was more likely to make everyone some money.'  Auerbach, meanwhile, 'had no intention of making another English gangster movie. For me, it was a coming-of-age drama about a young guy facing hard choices in order to become a man'… Then Michael Madsen arrived from LA. Wearing a bandana and full of unorthodox demands- such as insisting all costume department mannequins be turned to the wall lest he be spooked by the wigs- he was at first charming. But as the days went on, he became 'a handful', Ball says" (Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott Clark, The Guardian, 5 Dec 2009. click here).

Steven Berkoff - The Big I Am - credits

All images from the film.

Steven Berkoff - Drop Dead Gorgeous - title

Drop Dead Gorgeous by another new director, Philip Alderton in a weak comedy about the fashion world.  2010. 

Steven Berkoff - Drop Dead Gorgeous

A model Cynthia (Ivy Lethan) is chosen to model clothes for a multi-million fashion contract with  fashion designer Claudio Vestigues, played by Steven Berkoff.

Steven Berkoff - Drop Dead Gorgeous - Ivy Lethan

Steven Berkoff - Drop Dead Gorgeous - Ivy Lethan

The top model dies just before a major campaign, but they decide to carry on using her body.

Steven Berkoff - Drop Dead Gorgeous

Steven Berkoff - Drop Dead Gorgeuis

Steven Berkoff plays Claudio Vestigues, "She fell asleep modeling my clothes!  Is she a critic?".  The role is very similar to that in Another Nine and  a Half  Weeks.

Steven Berkoff - Drop Dead Gorgeous

The credits manage to spell Berkoff's name wrongly.

The Director of Photography was Zoran Hochstatter and the Editor was Terry Blythe.

All images from the film.

Just for the Record

Just for the Record, directed by Steven Lawson in 2010, a mokumentary about the film industry.

Berkoff in Just for the Record

Steven Berkoff plays the Director of Photography Mike Rossfery, though his character needs a manual to operate the cameras.  His scenes are in an old folks home where he has retired.  In the background an elderly man stands and moves forward on his zimmer-frame before collapsing and the nurses come to him.  Berkoff continues to talk to the camera.

Just for the Record

Other scenes show the executive producer in the bath with one of the actresses.  The film does at times descend into Carry-On humour.

Berkoff in Just for the Record

Actor Philip Davis worked on two other Berkoff films, The Big I Am in the same year as this film, and Transmutations in 1985.

Just for the Record 

Dead Cert Steven Berkoff

Dead Cert

Steven Lawson directs his second film in a row with Berkoff, a vampire film with gangsters from 2010.  Berkoff plays Kenneth Mason.

Steven Berkoff in Dead Cert

Steven Berkoff - The Tourist - title 

Steven Berkoff after a long pause finally doing a major film, German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Tourist with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.  Timothy Dalton also stars- Berkoff previously worked with him on Sins, one of the three Bonds Berkoff has worked with.

Steven Berkoff - The Tourist - Angelina Jolie

Interpol are surveilling Elise Clifton-Ward (Angeline Jolie) hoping she will lead them to her lover Alexander Pearce who owes more than £700 million in taxes.  To put the police on a false trail she picks up a tourist Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp) who is the same build as Pearce .  Things get worst when mobster Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff) also want to find Pearce who stole over $2 billion from him.

The film is overlong but remains a good comedy-action film.  There are similarities with Hitchcock's North by North West, the story of an innocent man chased by authorities and criminals with Jolie and Depp in the Eva Marie Saint and Clark Gable roles.

The film is a remake of French film Anthony Zimmer directed by Jérôme Salle.

Steven Berkoff - The Tourist - Johnny Depp

Berkoff writes "Got an interesting call this morning from a director with the fabulous name of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. He wants me to be in his film The Tourist. It is very last minute but a reasonable role. I am to play a cultivated, dynamic, unpredictable Russian gangster called Ivan Demidov [the role was modified and was eventually not a Russian but called Reginald Shaw]. the film also stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Florian wants me on the first available flight to Venice. the downside is I don't get to go home first."

Steven Berkoff - The Tourist - Berkoff and Ageline Jolie

He also adds about Angelina Jolie "A major star does not talk to you about your work. You talk to them about their work".

Conversely "Johnny Depp... arrived, unannounced and came over at once. I told him I was honoured to be working with him and he said: "No, I am honoured to be working with you. I have such respect for your work." It was so unexpected. So real.  Performing the scene was effortless for him. It's like he isn't acting he is so relaxed. He doesn't have any schtick or manner. He just comes in as himself. He is playful and funny. What a joy."

The quotes come from here.

Steven Berkoff in The Tourist

Berkoff the mobster is measured for a suit, pauses to strangle someone with the tape measure, then asks if the suit looks alright.

Steven Berkoff - The Tourist

Stuart Heritage wrote "here's Steven Berkoff who, because he's Steven Berkoff, mistakes his character for a screaming lunatic trapped at the bottom of a well" (Stuart Heritage, The Guardian, 23 Mar 2014, click here) but it is a case of a reviewer writing what he thinks sounds good (trapped at the bottom of a well - it actually sounds like schoolboy pretension) rather than reviewing the film.  Actually Berkoff has restrained menace throughout and provides a convincing performance.

The Director of Photography was John Seale and the editors were Joe Hutshing and Patricia Rommel.

Best name from the credits is obviously director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

Steven Berkoff - The Tourist - credit

All images from the film.

The Rapture

The Rapture

Steven Berkoff in The Rapture

Berkoff back again with Spandau Ballet's Martin and Gary Kemp (The Krays).  This time it is DaVinci Code territory.  The first film for director William Steel.  2010.

Moving Target

Mark Tierney directs his first film, Moving Target.  Michael Greco and Jake Maskall from the British soap EastEnders star and Berkoff plays Lawrence Masters.  Most of the other actors are newcomers.  The film was originally called Naked in London and was filmed in 2004/2005 but has still to be released.

Steven Berkoff - Big Fat Gypsy Gangster - Bulla the Movie  Steven Berkoff - Big Fat Gypsy Gangster - title

Big Fat Gypsy Gangster from 2011 with another first time director, this time Ricky Grover- the credits say "directed by Bulla", the name of his character.  The title is a reference to a British television documentary series Big Fat Gypsy Weddings from 2010.  The film was going to be called Bulla but it seems to have moved on.

Steven Berkoff - Big Fat Gypsy Gangster

Steven Berkoff - Big Fat Gypsy Gangster - newspaper

Bulla (Ricky Grover) is released from jail...

Steven Berkoff - Big Fat Gypsy Gangster

...and Omid Djalili leads a film crew following Bulla.

Peter Capaldi - Big Fat Gypsy Gangster

Peter Capaldi is on form as the psychiatrist, himself close to violence.  Like Berkoff it was probably a few hours work.

Steven Berkoff - Big Fat Gypsy Gangster

Steven Berkoff - Big Fat Gypsy Gangster

Steven Berkoff plays Guru Shahm, spiritual advisor to Bulla.  He does his best but the role is so vacuous I wonder if the money was worth the humiliation of probably a few hours work.

The Director of Photography was Gary Shaw and the Editor was Jason De Vyea.  Lead actor and director Ricky Grover also co-wrote with wife Maria Grover who also acts in the film, and both are co-producers.  Unless you are Orson Welles it is never a good idea to take on all these roles and remove any chance of creative feedback.  The film ends with a voiceover "If you are wondering what this movie is about, don't. I have not got a clue either."  Precisely.

Reviewer Peter Bradshaw has a different view from mine on the film "this chaotic but often funny satire on sentimental East End geezerism... There's some breathtaking bad taste, and some big laughs (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 15 Sept 2011, click here).

Best name from the credits- Flemming Jetmar.  His website says: "Always in the service to the story, Flemming is a cinematographer with an acute attention to visual emotion and sensitivity. With over 20 years behind the camera he has lensed intimate character drama to action, his conscientious nature is always open for spontaneity by thinking bold, original and inventive. An important value which also reflects Flemming's low-key work ethic, is to create strong images that don't lose their power" (from his website, click here).

Steven Berkoff - Big Fat Gypsy Gangster - credit

All images from the film.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The remake of a Swedish film and Stieg Larsson's novel by David Fincher with Daniel Craig (taking time off from James Bond) and Rooney Mara.  Journalist, Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara)- with tattoos- investigate a disappearance years ago.

Berkoff plays the lawyer Dirch Frode, one of his best roles in a major film.  Christopher Plummer also appears in the film- he and Berkoff worked together on a television filming of Hamlet in 1964.  Best name from the credits is Matti Rintala von Knorring, who is one of the Swedish carpenters.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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