The Road: A Story of Life and Death – LFF Review

Ever wondered about the people who live along the A5 in London? Their hopes? Their dreams? Their bitter disappointments? If so then The Road: A Story of Life and Death will be right up your street. For me the film literally was right up my street living as I do just off Kilburn High Road (which is part of the A5 in case you weren’t aware of the geography within 1 mile of my flat). The Road is a documentary dipping into the lives of people who have moved to London from foreign locales and now find themselves residing somewhere between Marble Arch and Cricklewood. An intriguingly niche subject but one ripe for human stories.

With nothing linking the various subjects beyond a stretch of tarmac and their previous relocation the stories told are varied and documentarian Marc Isaacs has a knack for making his subjects open up more than they potentially intended to. As a result we have a documentary filled with diverse and revealing stories. An elderly lady reveals the relief she feels now her husband is dead while a former air stewardess describes her husband’s infidelity and an Irish immigrant displays the extreme extent of his alcoholism. The Road is not a glossy documentary but shows its subjects with all their flaws and eccentricities.

Intriguing though it may be The Road is lacking something. Lasting for little over an hour the documentary is too lean to get properly in-depth with any of the interviewees. We see a small snapshot into the lives on display without ever getting far enough into their lives to really connect with their stories.

Coming soon to a TV screen near you The Road is an interesting if unsatisfying film about people who have moved to London and found themselves living on or around the A5. Maybe I’m just bitter that I wasn’t asked to be in the film (and that one of the film’s subjects sat in front of me at the showing and filmed the screen on her mobile phone).