London Road, film review: Insightful musical drama captures residents' grief and disbelief

(15) Rufus Norris, 92 mins. Starring: Olivia Colman, Angela Bain, Tom Hardy
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The Independent Culture

London Road, a musical drama about an Ipswich community trying to come to terms with the murder of five prostitutes in their backyard in 2006, has some of the same boldness and offbeat originality found in the films that Alan Clarke used to make for the BBC in the 1970s and 1980s.

Adapted by Rufus Norris from the National Theatre, it sets words from interviews with residents of London Road (where the killer Steve Wright rented a flat) to music. "This is what they said exactly as they said it," an intertitle tells us. The film captures the residents' grief, disbelief, excitement at being centre of a scandal, their sometimes misogynistic contempt for the prostitutes and their interactions with the police and media.

London Road is shot in fluid and inventive fashion. There is something ghoulish about using song and dance to depict such grim recent events but the film is vivid and insightful in a way that yet another True Crimes-style drama-doc simply wouldn't have been.