|UK Release Date||18th April 2014|
|Reviewed||13th April 2014|
The trouble with reviewing writer / director Steven Knight’s latest movie Locke is that the less you know about it before you go in, the more you’re going to enjoy it. So I’ve completely messed up our usual neat formatting for this one. Below this paragraph is the trailer (which brilliantly manages to give away nothing of what actually happens). Watch that, then go see the film. Come back, read the remainder of this review. That way, I’m in the clear from spoiling it for you. Off you go.
Good. Hopefully by now you’ll have been out to see the movie and you’re trying to get your head around just how superb an achievement it is. I’m still going to mostly avoid plot details here, just in case you misread the above and carried on reading below the trailer.
Starring Tom Hardy as the titular Ivan Locke, Locke takes place entirely in the cab of a BMW as Hardy’s erstwhile concrete foreman speeds down the M6 heading for an unexpected appointment in London. As he goes, he makes a series of phone calls that pretty much unravel his entire, neatly formed life. Going AWOL from the biggest concrete pouring (civil) in Europe for his new building on the eve of the pour, Locke attempts desperately to keep everything from spiralling entirely out of control.
Whilst Hardy is the only physical presence on screen, we do get a variety of other voices through the handsfree and Locke’s silent invisible father who he talks to as if he were on the back seat. Hardy of course carries the movie as he must but it’s a mesmerising performance all the same. With no actual action to speak of, we are left with Hardy’s increasingly desperate visage as Locke’s calm, collected persona gradually falls apart. This is a man stood on the edge of the abyss and there is very little sign of him escaping it’s draw. Hardy is an incredibly versatile actor and he convinces absolutely as the working class man, attempting to do the right thing in a situation that has no good outcome for him. A man so desperate to control the situation that even the slightest error must be calmly corrected. The ghost of his father looms large as he sneers at the empty back seat, seemingly willing to go to any length in order to avoid becoming him.
The remainder of the cast, tucked up in a hotel in Canary Wharf during the shoot provide great support with only their voices to show for it. In particular Andrew Scott’s hapless concrete jockey Donal, left well and truly in the soft stuff when his foreman abandons him and Ruth Wilson as Locke’s wife.
Knight’s previous film as director Hummingbird (or Redemption depending on where you saw it) was a mixed bag but in Locke he has picked up on a single idea and nailed it to perfection. Shot in sequence over just eight days, the intensity of the schedule is amplified in the movie. At a suitably terse 85 minutes, the movie doesn’t seem stretched even given it’s single location setup. A thriller like you have never seen before (that’s no exaggeration), Locke is as nail biting as it is heartbreaking.