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Tom Hardy is only onscreen for a single scene in London Road – though he proves once and for all that he’s a master vocal manipulator.

Touchwood

3.5 out of 4 stars

Title
London Road
Written by
Alecky Blythe
Directed by
Rufus Norris
Starring
Olivia Colman, Clare Burt and Tom Hardy
Genre
Mystery
Classification
14A
Country
U.K.
Language
English

If you are already familiar with the National Theatre's production of this unusual musical, then you won't be too surprised when a bunch of humble Ipswich residents start singing – sort of – about the travails of living in the midst of a serial killer. For everyone else, this adaptation of Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork's "verbatim musical" (based on the actual testimonies of neighbours to the 2006 "Suffolk Strangler") may cause a few cases of cinematic whiplash. Think Sweeney Todd meets the Red Riding trilogy.

Either way, once Rufus Norris's film gets going, it quickly reveals itself as a vibrant, almost revolutionary work. Shame, though, that Tom Hardy is only onscreen for a single scene – though his intentionally nerve-racked warbles prove once and for all that he's a master vocal manipulator. Equally unfortunate: The fact it took more than a year for this curiosity to make its way to theatres after screening at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

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