TIFF 2015: London Road
This Drama/Musical is a celebration of life! Taking actual quotes from the members of the community which lived through the horrific events surrounding the Ipswich murders, put to music. Following the story beyond the press, behind the scenes, and past the doom and gloom to rebuild the neighborhood to even better than it was before. This was a fun, smart, and charming film that leaves you with a sense of optimism.
I hardly gave this film a second glance from the description, but what totally sold me on it was the Trailer. Sure, it was inventive enough to try and set to music the actual quotes, but to use real lifelike mannerisms as choreography, to have to adapt it from stage to screen (no easy feat to begin with), and to pull it off? This I had to see. And, without question, they nailed it. I later checked, because I was quite curious – and it seems there were quite a few original cast members from the stage play in the film, which absolutely helped and lent credibility to the characters. No glossy movie stars here. The songs are catchy, the drama is believable, and I never once thought of it as cliche or over-the-top. I will admit, this won’t be everybody’s cup of tea – but it certainly will be enjoyable to most.
This was the perfect choice for my last film of TIFF – light-hearted but with a bit of an edge, wry and funny. Olivia Colman is amazing at everything that she does, bringing a great awkward energy to her roles. The cast as a whole perfectly captured the look of startled small town folk. Having not seen the stage play, I don’t know how well the film mimics the choreography, but it was brought to life beautifully on screen. The only thing I could say against it, though this is more a knock at the source material, is that the songs are very repetitive, beyond what is entertaining. That said, listening to the tones of regular speech turned into music, it was like watching Autotune The News: The Musical, and I quite enjoyed it.