A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
One man, one car, one night, one road and a phone. That is the summary of “Locke”, the stunningly gripping, small-scale drama from Steven Knight.
Starring Tom Hardy, “Locke” focuses on a man who is torn between loyalties and attempts to handle three of the biggest events of his life as they pile upon one-another and bombard him conjunctively.
For what is essentially a solo effort, Tom Hardy demonstrates exactly why he is one of Hollywood’s most gifted talents to emerge over the past decade.
On a misty, gloomy London evening, Ivan Locke, a well respected and experienced construction worker, receives a phone call that turns his life upside down. Following the call, Ivan proceeds to make and receive a series of phone calls from within his four-wheel-drive that tend to scatter between his family and working lives.
On the eve of the biggest cement pour in Europe, Locke becomes increasingly nervous, anxious and stressed. What is clever about the character of Locke is his calm, collected and controlled Welsh accent; a deliberate contrasting factor to his experiences and issues.
The journey of Locke is confined to a drivers seat, and the distance/claustrophobia factor begin to merge into the ‘driving’ force behind Locke’s crescendo in anxiety and distress.
A man that begins to unravel and break over the series of around 90 minutes from within his car is such an incredibly bold task to undertake, particularly in cinema (as “Locke” appears to be fitted for the stage), but through dialogue, acting and supreme camerawork, all the emotional ingredients for a superb narrative are ticked off the list.
This is not the first time we’ve seen a film with a singular cast member take up 100% of the screen time. Watching “Locke” and the incredibly deep voyage into the sole character is reminiscent of 2010’s “Buried” starring Ryan Reynolds and 2013’s “All Is Lost” starring Robert Redford. The confinement factor was also similar to “12 Angry Men”, the classic drama that explores character like no other.
“Locke” is extremely well edited and perfectly choreographed. With not one continuity error noticed, the method of essentially running through the entire film in one or two takes at a time from various angles and splicing it all together at the end has paid off admirably.
There is an enormous sense of subtlety within the script, the actions and the camerawork of the film, and as it all unfolds, we get to see this man, Ivan Locke, for who he really is.
A seemingly organised, structured and controlled human being, Locke is a man with a compelling and poignant backstory.
The final shot (no spoilers to the story) is a long shot showing the freeway – this can be seen as a statement saying that every car on that road is another story to explore; what a powerful and profound thought!
The only nitpicked negative to emerge being the dialogue being ever so slightly expository, however with a film as limited as this, it is both effective and necessary, so it is forgiven.
Tom Hardy gives an OSCAR-worthy performance as Ivan Locke. For what is essentially a man on the phone for 90 minutes, the faultless emotionally driven efforts are an absolute treat to watch.
Composed and together, Locke is such a difficult character to read, but at the same time, he’s as clear as day (even if it in fact set during the evening…).
The engagement he has with friends, family and co-workers over the phone work so incredibly well to shape the character of Ivan and give the audience a true understanding of the man, it really is compelling viewing.
Overall, Hardy delivers a masterclass performance in what is a terrifically ambitious story to bring to the silver screen. The beautiful camerawork that captures emotion and confinement is one of the strongest points of the film, while the dialogue and overall structure of “Locke” is admirable to say the least.
This is definitely one of the films of the year, even more so given the minuscule scale of it all – a must see!