Based on a 2011 stage show, “London Road” will engage your emotions but will still feel theatrical and contrived. That doesn’t matter if you love the stage more than the screen.
Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork used the words of London Road residents who were caught up as bystanders during the 2006 Ipswich Ripper murders. With such uncomfortable source material, deft direction by Rufus Norris and a really good ensemble, it takes risks.
My friend Sheila goes to the theatre much more often than I do and she really enjoyed the originality and musical numbers. I am used to the faster pace of film so my attention wandered a few times, especially during the inevitable talky bits.
As ordinary people get caught up in extraordinary attention from the media, the warmest moments, for me, came from the testimony of the young prostitutes who were the targets of the crimes.
The stars here are Tom Hardy, Anita Dobson, Kate Fleetwood and Olivia Colman but most of the team are the actors who originated these parts, at London’s National Theatre.
Theatre, ballet and opera events that are beamed into cinemas are great for attracting more people to high culture. And it’s wonderful that Picturehouse has sponsored making this movie and I am glad it was shown at Stratford East Picturehouse.
Watching many movies has resulted in my having the attention span of a gnat. I fear I now desire endless vicarious thrills, when I watch a screen.
Shame on me. You should see this film. It’s culture with a capital “C”.