100 Streets tells three different interlocking stories that take place in the same London neighborhood. Two of those stories fuse pretty well while the other is fine on its own but really doesn’t connect at all and feels out of place. All is rendered inconsequential, however, in a doozy of a last twenty minutes. Each story culminates in a barrage of conveniently laid occurrences leading to overly melodramatic outcomes for all characters that will have you throwing your hands up in the air and possibly even letting out a giggle.
The first story deals with Kingsley (Franz Drameh), a bright young man from a broken home that’s mixed up in street crime. Not unlike Drameh’s character Firestorm on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Kingsley spits fire as well. Or rather, he likes to write and recite poetry. While performing community service at the local cemetery for his most recent arrest, he meets Terence (Ken Stott), an older man who pushes him to find a better future. Upon discovering his penchant for the spoken word, it’s decided that he should give acting a shot.
Stott (Balin in The Hobbit trilogy) is a pleasure to watch and is truly the heart of this film. The mentor/pupil relationship between Terence and Kingsley also doubles as a father/son dynamic and although not enough time is spent on them together, it’s still the most natural and deftly handled story thread in 100 Streets.
Somewhere within a hundred blocks, a marriage is in peril between Max (Idris Elba) and Emily (Gemma Arterton). Max is a retired Rugby superstar with a wandering eye. Having a rough time with his spotlight dimming, he’s succumbed to hard drug use and alcohol binges. His promiscuous behavior has caused a rift, separating him from his former actress wife and two children, who he spends most of the film trying to get family back.
Emily is considering moving on and has rekindled the flame of a college romance with photographer Jake (Tom Cullen). He suggests Emily return to acting and encourages her to get in touch with her old actor friend. Enter Ken Stott again. Yes! If Stott is the heart, then Idris Elba is the absolute power of 100 Streets. His screen presence is never in doubt, but not even a great performance can save the film from the silliness that ensues at the end.
George (Charlie Creed-Miles) and Kathy (Kierston Wareing), a couple who want nothing more than to adopt a child, are sadly met with opposition because of George’s trouble with the law when he was a teenager. As the final London story in the trifecta, it’s full of heartbreaking moments. The issue, however, is that it just doesn’t fit.
While some of the characters in the first two stories crossover into each other to play significant roles, George and Kathy are completely separate. There’s no apparent through line connecting their story to the rest besides the fact that it takes place within the same one hundred street blocks. It’s as if they belong to a different movie. Even worse, you’ll see the other characters exit frame once or twice but not interact with them or anything. It’s more just so you’ll remember it’s the SAME ONE HUNDRED BLOCKS.
Then there’s the ending. In what amounts to one bummer after another, the audience is flooded with scenes of despair and impossibly bad luck in each story. Since it’s literally one scene after another with no space to breathe in between, the misfortune just continues to grow until it becomes sheer lunacy and each individual tragedy loses whatever emotional weight it should have carried.
Director Jim O’Hanlon’s first feature not made for TV, 100 Streets is a film that works in parts but fails when put together. Strong performances by the entire cast are thrown to the wayside by a sloppily cobbled together screenplay that can’t decide on what themes it wants to explore. The hopping from story to story is far from seamless and ends up being a detriment to the flow of the storytelling. A less bewildering finale would have been helpful, to be sure, but a more refined and thematically committed script is really what could have saved this one.
Unfortunately, 100 Streets' parts are greater than the whole, forcing it to crash and burn after an absolutely ludicrous third act.