London Road 1.0 stars

London Road movie poster

There have been musicals about mass murderers (Rent, Sweeney Todd), but none as monotonously tasteless as this talk-singing account of the 2006 killings of five prostitutes in the titular working-class neighborhood. The film is adapted from a stage play, and it shows in every frame. Still, it’s commendable for its lack of a central character — the story is told from the collective point of view of the prurient townsfolk, many of whom credit the killer of “foul-mouth slags” with performing a community service. But even though he’s using court transcripts as his lyricist, director Rufus Norris (Broken) can’t pluck the chord of documentary realism needed to pull it off. The hookers eventually have their say, but by then the novelty — compounded by flat lighting, calisthenics substituting for choreography, and lyrics that would choke Andrew Lloyd Webber — had long since run out of steam. Tom Hardy’s cameo as a serial killer buff who moonlights as a cabbie is a standout. 2016.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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