Locke is an intriguing film, and done in a way that had never been done before.  The only actor seen in the film is Tom Hardy, who carries the film on his back for the entire 85 minute runtime, and gives one of the better performances of his career.  Locke is about a construction foreman Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy), who’s life is crumbling before him, travels to London to deal with personal dilemmas.  Along the way, Locke’s only contact with other people is through his cell-phone, where the story begins to unravel.  Because of the choices Ivan has made, he can never go back to the life he had before embarking on his journey to London.

Tom Hardy is absolutely brilliant as construction foreman Ivan Locke.  Ivan is traveling to London to take care of a personal problem, in which he feels obligated to follow through on, no matter what the consequences may be.  Hardy was behind the wheel of the car for the entire film, so his only interactions were through his phone.  Not once is there a face to face interaction with another actor, forcing Hardy to hold up the film.  We already know that Hardy is a great actor, often playing larger than life characters (Bronson, Bane, etc.), but in Locke he plays the everyman Ivan Locke, and his performance was inspiring.  Locke is in a situation that many people in the audience have been in, or can easily relate too.  The scale is very small, and there are no gangsters or people after him, yet from the beginning, Locke draws you in, and Tom Hardy single handedly hoists the film on his back.

This is not to say that the film isn’t shot well.  Locke takes place entirely in the car, so British filmmaker Steven Knight (Eastern Promises screenwriter) and cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos did superb jobs keeping the visuals in the film interesting.  Light was used in a interesting ways, whether it was other car headlights, to reflections of lights with the city that match up with Ivan’s eyes as he drives towards a new life, and one that he necessarily doesn’t want.  Part of what made the film great is the fact that it takes place entirely in the car, but it’s also what hurt it slightly.  While I was enthralled throughout, by the end I was a bit carsick, and ready to get out.  Luckily, Locke is only 85 minutes, and while you may get tired of the drive, it’s paced well enough to entertain for the whole trip.

Locke is distributed by A24 Films, which has some interesting releases, both past and in the coming months, like David Michôd’s The Rover and Kevin Smith’s Tusk.  It’s certainly a risk releasing a film like this, they also distributed Scarlett Johanson’s Under the Skin, but it seems to be paying off as they are producing films with bigger and wider releases.

Locke is a stage for the one-man show executed brilliantly by Tom Hardy.  Hardy is riveting as Ivan Locke, and holds the attention of the audience until the end.  His accent and facial expressions are spot on, and the problems Locke is facing has a very real feeling to it.  The writing is fantastic and keeps the audience engaged until the end, even if by the end you begin to feel a bit carsick.  Locke is fascinating, and while it’s not perfect, it’s an intriguing film that builds and thrills until the end.

Locke is directed by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Redemption) and stars Tom Hardy, and can be seen in select theaters now.

About the Author

Peter Towe
Peter Towe
A graduate of UMASS Boston, I have successfully put off getting a "real" job, and continue to watch, produce, review, and obsess over movies. I lived in Boston while I completed my degree, and now live in Chicago trying the improv thing.