100 Streets, review: ‘Idris Elba stars in hollow telling of London life’

Idris Elba in 100 Streets. Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Idris Elba in 100 Streets. Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images for One Square Mile

There were eight million stories in the Naked City, but these 100 streets don’t seem to have one decent tale between them.

There were eight million stories in the Naked City, but these 100 streets don’t seem to have one decent tale between them.

The film wants to offer a microcosm of London life, from the top to the bottom. It is true to the reality of London life in the capital in that the middle get badly squeezed.

At the top we have the marital problems of celebrity couple - ex England Rugby captain Idris Elba and Gemma Arterton, former actress. At the bottom we have tower block bad boy Kingsley (Franz Drameh) who wants to get out of his drug dealing lifestyle and has a talent for expression, that the film can’t find a way to express.

In the middle is black cab driver Charles Creed-Miles and his wife Kierston Wareing, who struggle along and want to adopt a kid.


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While the other tales interconnect, they are largely shunned by the rest of the cast and the film itself for long periods, as it follows the glamour and danger of the other tales.

A frustrating choice because they were the only two I had any interest or feelings for.

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If you want to offer a slice of life, real life would seem to be an essential ingredient, but there is not enough of it in the mix here.

And whatever realism the film achieves is sabotaged by heavy handed narrative signifiers: the moment the cabby reluctantly takes one last fare because he accidentally left the yellow light on; the moment a spurned lover leaves a book of photos on a doorstep.

The film practically bangs a gong to make sure we get the portents. It is set around Battersea but Holloway might have been more appropriate as Hollow is the way most of the storytelling rings.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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