Last Updated: February 11, 2008By Tags:

(BY ALI NADERZAD) Violence is a common part of life for London to Brighton’s two hapless characters Joanne (Georgia Groome) and Kelly (Lorraine Stanley) and once triggered follows an upward spiral into pure, hair-raising devastation. Both girls are street people; the former is a prepubescent runaway and the latter a streetwalker. Little more is revealed at first. Director Paul Andrew Williams’ film advances on the back of a riddle. It isn’t apparent how these two hooked up or why when the film opens they are rushing into a filthy bathroom in the back of a London pub, the prostitute bearing a massive shiner and the young one shaking from fear. Something bad has happened and they get on the next train to Brighton. At first, London to Brighton smells of the post-Trainspotting shallowness that England has been experiencing of late, give or take a few exceptions. Chance encounters between desperate strangers (some more desperate than others) and the all-or-nothing partnering that ensues. In this case, of course, it works. While Kelly will probably never give up streetwalking, she is motherly and sincere towards her young charge. Joanne’s vindictiveness soon gives way to distant melancoly. When the opportunity to make some quick cash is presented to her, she accepts. And that is, of course, where you begin to say: Oh no, you silly little one! Why did you? Saying anything else about the movie would be to give away too much of it. But I will say this: London to Brighton keeps getting better and better. During the tense final scene, you might be compelled to ask yourself, how can filmmakers draw such performances out of his cast? Lorraine Stanley and Georgia Groome’s stirring turns are devastating. First-class performances backed by a grisly plot make London to Brighton a very strong thriller and a very impressive debut for first-time director Paul Thomas Williams.

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