Hi everyone, Bryan Here….
I’m a sucker for movies that take place all in one setting. From films like ‘Buried‘, ‘Cube‘, and ‘Rope‘, these directors have told fascinating stories with rich characters in one small setting. This allows us to really connect with our characters on-screen and develop a stronger relationship rather if we were seeing something with blockbuster sized special effects. Don’t get me wrong, I like those movies too, but I love these films that are set in one room. I just fully immerse myself in the story. And that’s just what I did with Steven Knight’s ‘Locke‘, which is all set inside a moving car as a man (Tom Hardy) drives from Birmingham to London one evening to take responsibility for a mistake and prove to himself that he is a better man than his father was.
Who would have thought that a story about laying down cement for a building would be so entertaining. I certainly didn’t. We meet Ivan Locke (Hardy) who is driving his BMW in the middle of the night to see the birth of his kid. The catch is that this kid is the product of an affair he had with an older co-worker nine months ago, to which his wife and two teenage sons know nothing about. But on this drive, Ivan is dedicated to righting the wrongs and has a list of things to do. One of them is telling his wife about his affair and soon to be born son. The other debacle is that in the morning, Ivan is in charge of laying the cement for the biggest building set to go up in Europe, and if something goes wrong, hundreds of millions of dollars could be lost. He chooses to tell his boss that he won’t be there and that a colleague of his who is under-qualified will look after the job. Needless to say, with in a couple of minutes while driving his car and talking hands free to a few people close in his life, his marriage, job, and home are all about to crash into a wall going 100 mph.
Ivan is a very mild mannered man who never raises his voice, loses his temper, or gets agitated. He is calm, cool, and collected throughout, which might be why he has succeeded in life so much. He is always on point and always dependable, even with this birth and affair. He spends his driving time switching phone calls from his distraught wife who as time goes by gets worse and worse over the phone as her life falls apart in the span of a couple of hours. Ivan also talks with his fellow co-worker who has a drinking problem and tells him exactly what to do to make tomorrow go smoothly at the cement pour, which several things have to come to fruition and happen for all things to run smoothly. Then there is his irate boss and the very lonely woman who is having his kid who is very manipulative. However, Ivan never breaks and constantly tells this woman he will never love her and that this was all a mistake, but he will take responsibility. It’s a flawless look at the downfall of a good man who is trying to do the right thing and clean up his mistakes.
Steven Knight does a fantastic job using great camera angles all set inside this moving car, and yes, you might feel a little claustrophobic, but that is somewhat the point here. There are all these terrible situations that are all boiling to a point of an eventual explosion that may or may not ever come. Hardy gives an amazing performance. He makes us like him even though he has done wrong, but it’s his coolness and level headedness that keeps us siding with him, and of course his honesty and wanting to the right thing. The voice actors also do a phenomenal job here too as they keep giving our main guy so much to work with. It’s no doubt that Ivan is having one of the worst days of his life, and Hardy delivers every line and has such perfect body language that we forget this is an actor and start to feel like this might be a real person. It’s remarkable.
There are a few instances where Ivan begins to talk to an empty backseat through the rear-view mirror, as though his father were in the back, listening to his son berate him for not being a good man. These occurrences showed that Ivan was losing a grip on things and didn’t feel right with the tone of his character or story. But that was my only complaint. Other than that, ‘Locke‘ is one little film that demands to be seen.
4.5 out of 5 Stars
– Bryan Kluger