London Road Film Review

Film Review by Jon E Clist

The Premise
London Road documents the events of 2006, when the quiet rural 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 kerb-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 epicentre of this tragedy.

The Review
Well that was one of the weirdest concepts for a film ever. Doing a dramatised semi documentary about a serial killer in England turned into a musical. Oh hang on, that's the plot of Sweeney Todd. Of course this is quite a bit deferent as it is set in modern time and is based on a true moment in Britain's history.

As strange as it seems this is a compelling film for many reasons. For me I loved that the majority of the dialogue is taken from interviews with the real people of London Road. This means that many of the songs feature plenty of ums and ahs. This made it somewhat real and helped to divorce the weirdness of people breaking into song throughout the film. Plus because it is made from interview bites, the songs are very repetitive and this helps them become cleverly hooky. At times it sounded like the famous you tube clips from auto tune the news.

Writer Alecky Blythe went to Ipswich in the winter of 2006 after hearing reports that a serial killer was at large. She recorded the voices of local residents, sex workers, and members of the media who reported the story and the subsequent murder trial. The film uses only the words of these actual dialogues, set to a musical score and as the credits roll at the end of the film you get to hear audio from those actual interviews.

The cast has been picked superbly and features a nice blend of people you will recognise and those you won’t. For Broadchurch fans, there will be several familiar faces, of course this is generally always the case in UK cinema and TV. Just think how many actors and actresses you have seen in the movies from Downton Abbey. There is also a nice blend of those who can sing well and those who just get by. This aspect helps to sell a bit of the realism that hovers above the musical content.

Something else that helps to build the realism is that several of the real residents from London road in Ipswich appear as extras in the film.

The Verdict
Something rather surreal, challenging and yet very entertaining. However if you really don’t like musicals, this will not be for you.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 24th September 2015
Rating: M – Contains Sex scenes, offensive language & content that may disturb
Duration: 92 minutes 
Genre:  Adventure  
Starring: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Kate Fleetwood
Director: Rufus Norris (Broken)

The Extras
Cast member Anita Dobson was appearing in a Christmas pantomime in Ipswich when the murders were taking place. She recalled the deserted streets, and the theater hiring taxis to take the chorus girls home safely. She remembered how difficult it was to get people to come out to see a happy Christmas show while the town was gripped with fear.

Parts of London Road was filmed down an alley way in Belvedere Kent, England

The community spirt on London road has continued to grow, still having the London Road in Bloom competition every year.