Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. That’s all I can really say about Steven Knight’s brilliant film Locke, a movie so simple yet challenging. Tom Hardy is mesmerising. His acting depth is so good that no other on screen presence was actually needed.
The entire movie takes place over one car ride on the M1. Ivan Locke (Hardy) discovers that a co-worker he slept with has gone into labour. As this news comes his wife and children are sitting at home waiting for him to join them. Furthermore he has to oversee a large concrete pour the next day.
In the space of this car drive Locke’s life changes completely. There are many anxious phone calls. I shall not say exactly what happens except that there is some good news in between the bad news.
Long car trips can often be quite soothing. There are very few immediate distractions, which allow us to think carefully or do some of our deepest thinking. Ivan just manages to think so clearly about the situation he is in, talk calmly to an angry boss and screaming wife, reassuring a pregnant girlfriend.
It may be difficult to believe that Tom Hardy is the same actor who plays Bane in The Dark Knight. The divide between these two characters is so vast; yet herein lays the consistency of Hardy. His characters are notable for challenging audiences. You can’t be a passive movie watcher whilst he is on screen. As phone calls are made to the wife, girlfriend, boss or co-worker we ourselves are challenged to ask ourselves “what is the best way to respond.”
Knight does a fantastic job. Here was a car drive without any gas station stops or flat tyre repairs, which helped maintain the continuity. To quote another reviewer “it’s as if there is no world outside the car.” The decision to use mostly mid shots works well alongside the shaky camera bumps, whenever there was some tension. The choice of Locke’s soft Welsh accent worked nicely too, as he was still coherent yet we could identify him as a working class man.
If you haven’t seen this film yet make sure you do.