Review: Not even Idris Elba can elevate the pedestrian ensemble drama ‘100 Streets’

Idris Elba in the film "100 Streets."
(Tristan Fewings / Getty Images / One Square Mile)

Several unremarkable stories set within the same square mile of London crisscross to form the ho-hum ensemble drama “100 Streets.” It’s six or so characters in search of a meaningful movie.

Idris Elba, also a producer here, plays Max, a dashing ex-rugby superstar-turned-celebrity party boy whose indiscretions have fractured his marriage to Emily (Gemma Arterton), a onetime actress and the mother of their two young children. Perhaps to compete with the unfaithful Max, Emily is sleeping with earnest photographer Jake (Tom Cullen).

Then there’s anxious cab driver George (Charlie Creed-Miles), who’s trying to adopt a child with wife Kathy (Kierston Wareing) until he’s derailed by a tragic accident.

On the poorer side of town, Kingsley (Franz Drameh), a young drug dealer with an artistic soul, gets a shot at redemption via an unlikely, too-easily formed friendship with an aging, ill-fated theater actor (Ken Stott).


Despite an obvious effort by writer Leon F. Butler, these urban tales share few actual thematic parallels; “Crash” it ain’t. Worse, the script defaults to contrivance and melodrama, especially in the Max-Emily story, to juice up the low-octane narrative. Even a committed Elba can’t quite sell his character’s showy unraveling.

Director Jim O’Hanlon deftly utilizes an array of London neighborhoods and attractions, but misses capturing the city’s increasingly wider diversity, even in passing.


’100 Streets’


Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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