Candid and lyrical at the same time
- London Road review by IM
It is well to be wary of anything "critically acclaimed", as critics can be pretentious and irresponsible like certain architects whose motivation is apparently to impress one another, more than to consider those who must live and work in their creations, or see them every day.
"London Road", I'm glad to say as a self-styled non-critic (pretentious—moi?) is simply lovely. This is England as it is, guaranteed genuine. It's set entirely in one actual road and the script is taken entirely from recorded interviews with residents of that road, or visitors to it, after a series of murders which took place there. We learn what they actually said, some perhaps mindful as to how others might judge them, others completely outspoken as to their sympathies or lack of same. When there is a murderer in your midst, at large, unidentified and for all you know, about to strike again, how do you respond? Some are fearful. Some cannot sleep at night, even after a suspect has been detained. Some younger ones are excited, playing the game of "look at him—could he be the one?"
What brings it to totally unexpected life is putting the recorded words into the mouths of a perfectly-chosen professional cas; and setting those words to music, letting them be repeated back and forth and chorused too, not quite with synchronized dancing but something lyrically perfect, which seduces us into the quiet grace of an undistinguished street, in which everyone is brought together by a shared trauma, as never before—except in the Blitz, but none of them is old enough to remember that.
Then there is a transformation, which lifts us beyond the Blitz and its slow rebuilding and relief as the War ended; beyond the celebratory street party. The residents pull together and beautify their street as never before. They turn shame into pride. This film has embodied that pride and must surely amplify it, being a very fine film indeed.
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.
Don't believe all reviews.
- London Road review by blackrocket2000
This film is based on true events, but it also based on a musical. And the dialogue is based on actual interviews. A thriller it is not. I made it until the end, because I was tired and had nothing better to do, and in the hope it might get better. It didn't.
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
- London Road review by MD
This has to be one of the strangest films I have seen in a long while, and I mean strange in both a good and bad sense.
It is certainly very different, a boldly innovative drama that starts in dull monochrome and flowers into full colour by the end, and full of people singing and doing dance routines about a serial murder killing prostitutes of all things. You can't help admiring the approach, and it has a poignancy and "bite" that makes the story come alive in a refreshing way.
With that approach there are flaws, though. A thriller it ain't, even though it is based on a real life crime, but nor is it a musical, a documentary, or anything else. The endless repetitions of what people said, the somewhat forced musical numbers and the blatant morality play message - even the darkest cloud can have a silver lining - all jarred for me, and I never quite understood the point of it all.
I guess the best one can say is that it shows a slice of real life Britain, but I think that what each viewer makes of it all will be very much down to personal taste. 3 stars for me because I'm glad I saw it, but I can't say I really enjoyed it.
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.