London to Brighton

Someone smacked the shit out of Kelly (Lorraine Stanley), a hooker with a heart of gold, and something nasty happened to Joanne (Georgia Groome), a precocious 12-year-old runaway. Who did the smacking plus what type of nasty; how did the ladies meet and come to be cowering in a London public toilet, licking their wounds and wolfing down French fries; and why did they flee to Brighton where trouble awaits them—this is the tense, white-knuckle stuff of London to Brighton. The debut feature of writer-director Paul Andrew Williams is a grim, efficient affair, neatly packed into 83 punishing, "cunt"-strewn minutes. Stanley and Groome uplift the miserablism with their raw, credible performances, and Williams shows uncommon confidence as a storyteller—but what, you may ask, have we done to deserve this? LTB offers a fresh (if grimy) contribution to kitchen-sink realism, but little to the tiresome persistence of vicious British gangster chic.

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