“LONDON ROAD” My rating: C+ (Opens Sept. 23 at the Tivoli)
103 minutes | No MPAA rating
“London Road” is a musical documentary.
About a serial killer.
Although it is enacted and sung by professional performers, Alecky Blythe’s screenplay zeroes in on a real-life incident.
During the Christmas season of 2006 the suburban town of Ipswich, England, was terrorized by a serial killer who murdered five women in six weeks. A 48-year-old fork lift driver who lived in Ipswich was arrested and convicted of the killings.
But the killer — Steve Wright — isn’t even seen in this Rufus Norris-directed feature. The film is entirely focused on Wright’s neighbors, middle-class folk living on London Road. All of the film’s dialogue/lyrics come from real interviews with townspeople, as well as TV news coverage and police reports.
“London Road” bears more than a little resemblance to “The Laramie Project,” the stage play about the 1998 hate crime murder of gay man Matthew Shepard in Wyoming. That script was also developed from interviews with authorities and everyday people.
What emerges is an oddball sort of musical entertainment, one steeped in sociology and psychology.
For Julie, a single mother of teenage girls (played by the ubiquitous Olivia Coleman, a familiar face from her work in “The Lobster,” “Broadchurch,” “The Night Manager” and many other TV shows and films), the serial killer on at least one level is performing a public service. All of his victims were prostitutes who in recent months had congregated in the neighborhood, much to the disgust of the locals.