Olivia Colman & Tom Hardy Once Starred in a Musical Murder Mystery


The Big Picture

  • London Road film explores how a community copes with a serial killer, showing their shocking reactions and superficial attempts to change things.
  • Olivia Colman’s character in the movie is an obnoxious woman with a moral superiority complex, making her unlikable but showcasing Colman’s talent.
  • Tom Hardy plays a suspicious character in London Road, using his performance to make the audience also suspect him, highlighting society’s morbid tendencies.

If it sounds bonkers, it’s because it is. Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy once starred in a musical murder mystery drama. London Road is a 2015 film based on a musical play of the same name. The play uses the case of serial killer Steve Wright and his five victims as a backdrop for its main story — about how the crimes affected this little community, putting Ipswich on the map. Both the play and the film adaptation are directed by Rufus Norris, and a part of the original cast reprises their roles in the film. Adding to the peculiarity, London Road uses the words spoken by the neighbors verbatim as the lyrics for all of its catchy songs.

The combination of elements exposes how people react to these types of grim events and how they try to somewhat push through together. As such, the film starts with a bleak filter as if it was a Snyderverse film and Ipswich was the UK’s Gotham City. Through the progression of events, it ends up turning into a colorful spectacle when the neighbors clean London Road’s name. If only this meant they evolved as well. Colman’s Julie starts and ends as the same person, while Hardy, not getting much screen time, is a momentary receiver of blame.

London Road

When five prostitutes are found dead in their community, residents of London Road in Ipswich, Suffolk come together to process the events and revitalize the community.

Olivia Colman, Tom Hardy, Kate Fleetwood, Anita Dobson

Release Date
June 12, 2015

Rufus Norris

Run Time
91 mins

Picturehouse Entertainment

Olivia Colman Gets To Be A Karen In ‘London Road’

Before the murders, London Road’s community felt scandalized because a handful of sex workers had made the street their labor base. When these same women turn out to be Wright’s victims, the neighbors display a mix of agitation and relief. Colman’s Julie gets much focus throughout the movie as a neighbor who feels particularly disgusted by the sex workers. She’s an obnoxious woman with a moral superiority complex. She’s a typical Helen Lovejoy who screams “won’t somebody please think of the children?!” whenever something she considers immoral disrupts her sacred reality.

At one point, from her high moral ground, she says she’d thank the killer for getting rid of the women. She feels sorry for their families, yes, but not for the victims themselves. Now imagine this with a melody and with Colman’s range (and wig!). Contrary to other crime-related roles where she evokes empathy, this is a film where you absolutely won’t root for her, and that’s how good Colman is in it.

Tom Hardy Is Anything But Guilty In ‘London Road’

Suspicion about who the killer might be puts the whole town on edge. When Hardy enters the scene, two schoolgirls are singing that the criminal could be anyone in town, and they are shaken up when they see him from the bus they’re riding. Hardy’s brief but lasting participation as Mark, a suspicious cab driver, puts a face to those poor unnamed souls who people accuse when they’re eager to find a culprit. But his character doesn’t help himself much, as he displays some concerning criminal knowledge.

While having a customer in his cab, he starts singing what appears to be a melodic confession. After he gives the killer’s description (which is very much like him), he casually comments how he’s always been interested in serial killers and their motivations — all this while fixing his glance towards women on the road. He sings his song while “Silent Night” plays on the radio (hear me out, this movie could be a new Christmas classic). Through his vocal performance, Hardy’s jumpy everyman cajoles the audience into also suspecting him.

‘London Road’ Is A True Depiction Of Society

London Road does a great job when showing that people have a tendency to be morbid. Wright, the murderer, never appears in the film, not even after he’s captured and judged. But the people want to get a glimpse of him outside of court. They demand justice even when they never cared about his victims, they even despised them — but at the same time, they feel the need to demand justice for them. It gets bigger when the neighbors realize Wright was one of them, he had been living in the road for 10 months. This kicks off an exodus of those who don’t feel secure living on the street anymore.

On the flip side, the killings give the neighbors a reason to interact, since they don’t really know each other. Trying to change things the best way they can, they focus on changing things on a superficial level. They tidy up their gardens, they repaint walls, and clean the street. The climax of the movie takes place when they organize a big event for a gardening competition. It is then when the movie’s filter finishes its slow transformation and the neighborhood turns into a cheerful place. The sex workers look from afar as they mourn their friends and wonder how they will continue to make a living. Only a little girl notices them and waves at them — a hope that new generations might make things better when they are in charge.


Olivia Colman Has Been Trying to Join the MCU For Years

The British acting royalty is thrilled she’s finally joined the gang.

In London Road, while Colman can be considered as having the main role, truth is the community that’s struck by the crimes of a serial killer is the real protagonist. But both Colman and Hardy elevate the film with their participations and put it on the map for those who are not familiar with the source material. London Road is a harsh reflection of society and how problems are dealt with in a superficial manner, never really acknowledging the root of them. The media’s reporting through the whole ordeal could not be left out of this study. Trial by media keeps the people in a state of alarm and being judges of situations they don’t have the full context of. Considering none of it was fiction, as all the lyrics are what the people really said, the critique is more of a self-examination.

London Road is currently available to stream on Britbox in the U.S.



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