Review: ‘LONDON ROAD’ brings an eerie tune to the big screen.

BBC WORLDWIDE NORTH AMERICA

PRESENTS

LONDON_ROAD_poster

Based on the groundbreaking musical from London’s National Theatreimage

STARRING:

Olivia Colman, Anita Dobson, Tom Hardy

And the entire original cast from the London play

DIRECTED BY: Rufus Norris

WRITTEN BY: Alecky BlytheLondon Road Still 5

If you anything like me and millions of other curious cats across the land, you spend far too many hours watching ID channel, MSNBC news crawls, and anything resembling true crime television. Or, you might be like the other half of me. The one who grew up on musicals, studied them in school, directed them as an adult… or something of the like. Well, you smack a murder mystery grabbed directly from the headlines, set it to music, and put it on the big screen, you’ve got my attention. LONDON ROAD is based upon real life interviews with the residents of Ipswich, England in 2006, after the murders of a handful of prostitutes. Turning a small neighborhood upside down, there is a killer on the loose and everyone is on edge. When someone goes on trial, suspicion still looms large as this community tries desperately to work through the confusion and mark of death.
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Imagine if you took Sweeney Todd and combined it with Parade, then set it in today’s overly saturated news media era, that is London Road. Based upon Alecky Blythe‘s hit stage play and same original cast, the film is nothing short of haunting delight. Through clever editing director Rufus Norris and writer Blythe have created an entirely new narrative for film around the audio. Utilizing the same “lyrics” sung by multiple characters, it becomes a swirling chorus of melancholy and dark madness.

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LONDON ROAD is the perfect example that truth is stranger than fiction. The musical numbers are beautifully choreographed in the most nontraditional way, adding to suspense and interest. A nice bonus during the end credits is the actual recorded audio from the real townspeople. It’s amazing how such simple words set to hypnotic beats take on a new life and brand new meaning in and out of context. The cast is a dream, from Olivia Colman, to Tom Hardy, to Paul Thornley, there is not one misstep. I can see why the National Theatre’s run was sold out. Do not miss this opportunity to see a unique presentation of chilling brilliance.

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LONDON ROAD is a verbatim musical – which makes this a very unique and non-traditional film.

Writer Alecky Blythe used the exact words from her interviews with the of residents of Ipswich, England to create the lyrics, which were than set to an innovative score that was inspired by the dialects and intonations of these residents.

LONDON ROAD documents true events that occurred in 2006, when the town of Ipswich was shattered by the discovery of the bodies of five women. The residents of London Road had struggled for years with frequent soliciting and curb-crawling on their street. When a local resident was charged, and then convicted, of the murders, the community grappled with what it meant to be at the epicenter of this tragedy. Using their own words set to an innovative musical score, LONDON ROAD tells a moving story of ordinary people coming together during the darkest of experiences. The stage production ‘London Road’ was an immediate hit and earned five-star reviews when it premiered at the National Theatre in 2011.  It returned to the stage in 2012 for a sold-out run.

Not Rated

Runtime:  93 minutes

NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 9, 2016

Village East Cinema (181-, 189 2nd Ave, New York)

LOS ANGELES – SEPTEMBER 16, 2016

Sundance Sunset Cinema (8000 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles)

Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 (673 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena)

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.