Locke has a stunning simple premise; one man in one car on one journey over one night however through the combination of a cuttingly clever and heartfelt script from writer and director Steven Knight along with a standout performance from Tom Hardy the film becomes a complex and gripping drama that will have you captivated from start to finish.
Opening on a building site in Birmingham where Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is the construction foreman we see a lone figure entering his car and driving away. The figure is Ivan and we quickly discover that he has abandoned his job on the eve of the most important day of the project throwing away his career and it transpires his whole life to right a wrong he has performed and prevent his past taking over his future.
Driving from Birmingham to London Ivan’s story unfolds in a series of phone calls made from the car to his boss, his co-worker, his wife, his kids and a mystery woman who holds the key to everything.
Many films have adopted the premise of a single location from horrors like ATM, Devil or The Hole to thrillers like Rope, Phone Booth, Tower Block, Liberty Stands Still and the brilliant Buried and in all cases the script and cast must be top notch to keep the audience engaged and the film interesting.
Luckily in Locke Steven Knight has crafted a brilliant character piece and the innovative set up fixes our attention on Ivan’s journey physically, emotionally and mentally throughout the course of the film.
Hardy is intense and captivating as an everyman attempting to do the right thing after one mistake threatens to destroy not only the world he has created for himself but also the people he loves. With the camera on him for the entire running time his face flashes through a million emotions baring his soul in his solitude as we silently sit and witness.
Although we never see another character we do get to hear them over the phone and the cast of extras including Olivia Colman, Luther’s Ruth Wilson and Sherlock’s Andrew Scott are all excellent conveying far more with their voices alone than other actors can with their whole bodies.
In many ways the limitations of Locke are its strengths with the confinement of the car focusing us fully on Ivan with the drives time constraints add an air of suspense to the proceedings. Steven Knight makes sure the film is as visually stimulating as it is emotionally creating a dreamlike blend of abstracted mundane motorway images overlaid and intercut always highlighting the sense of movement towards an inevitable ending for everyone involved.
Engaging, imaginative and extremely effective Locke is a well-crafted drama with a striking lead performance taking you on a journey through a stark character study that is deeply moving in every way possible.
Read our Interview with Locke writer and Director Steven Knight right Here. Locke is available now on Blu-ray, DVD & across digital platforms.