Friday 22 February 2013

"The Road: A Story of Life and Death" (Guardian 22/02/13)

The Road: A Story of Life and Death (PG) 75 mins ****

The road in Marc Isaacs’ highly engaging documentary is the A5, the 300-mile Roman legacy connecting Holyhead to Marble Arch. Isaacs installed his camera at various points to record its travellers: marching Muslims, Buddhist monks seeking nirvana in Colindale, an alcoholic ex-navvy whose loneliness is horribly compelling, and rarely observed this honestly. As proposed by his 2001 doc Lift – which sought out characters within a tower-block’s confines – Isaacs may be British cinema’s pre-eminent people person, locating strangeness, melancholy and joy within both the urban landscape and those who inhabit it. Almost every subject here might have merited their own film, but the brisk diversity is central to what emerges as a subtly pointed, humorous and above all humane contribution to the immigration debate: the road has been retraced as a lifeline, pumping fresh blood into the city’s heart. 

The Road: A Story of Life and Death opens in selected cinemas from today.

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