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London Road


Stars: Olivia Colman, Anita Dobson, Tom Hardy, Kate Fleetwood, Eloise Lawrence, Philip Howard, Paul Thornley, Janet Henfrey, James Doherty

Director: Rufus Norris

There aren't too many films around like this one. It's the sort of enterprise that may leave you either open-mouthed with admiration or reaching for the off switch if you're watching on DVD.

The movie, based on a successful stage show, is spun round the murders of five Ipswich prostitutes in 2006. What writer Alecky Blythe has done is taken quotes from local residents at the time and sewn them together in the form of a spoken-sung musical. It's a fascinating concept and she almost brings it home.

The piece also focusses on the effect on the residents of finding a serial killer living in their quiet cul-de-sac. It's clever, all right, but for me, at least, the movie doesn't quite come off.

You may find the presentation, transposed almost scene for scene from the stage, annoying at first and the cadence of its dialogue takes some getting used to - it's most effective when the key lines and voices all come together in a crescendo.

Colman reveals yet another string to her talented bow with tuneful 'spoken' vocalising, while Hardy will lend the project some gravitas at the box-office with his cameo as the taxi-driver who has an unhealthy interest in serial killers.

Dobson and Lawrence (the girl from Broken) are other faces you may recognise but, love it or hate it, this is essentially an ensemble piece that depends on the personalities of its company. Just be prepared for something pretty unique in the annals of cinema.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Picturehouse (BBC Films/Cuba Films/BFI). Colour by Panalux.
89 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 07 Jun 2015