“Locke” | Movie Review

Poster Locke 2013Grade (B+)

A fresh approach to storytelling and cinematic style, make this a highly intriguing tale told in what felt like real-time.

“LOCKE” follows Ivan Locke played by Tom Hardy who is a construction manager on the eve of the most important day of his career. When he receives a call while driving through the night to London, it will set forth the changing of his entire life. Over the night he will receive and make a series of phone calls that will systematically tear down the entire life he has worked so hard to build.

After watching this film I must start by saying “Locke” was missing many things I find appealing in cinema. There were no action-sequences, no visually appealing locations, no wide range of characters, no well written jokes, no tense stand off between two characters delivering witty dialogue, and despite all of this, I still found this movie highly entertaining. It pulled in my interest throughout and excellently used lighting, camera techniques and strong writing to create a compelling story, with for the most part only a single visible character.

This film was a fresh take on cinema and brought things back to the basics, using only a single actor and one location. The entertainment in this film was carried by the writing, the cinematography and most of all the performance of Tom Hardy. With not much going on visually throughout, the viewer is pulled into his performance and forced to focus on his every move, mannerism, expression and spoken word. The result is nothing short of excellent as you stare at him for the entire length of the film and feel for him as his life unravels around him while he drives to London.

Hardy is excellent as he conveys a oddly calm stress to the situations happening around him. He also captures all the frustration, remorse, anger and at-time rage, needed to pull off the role and it builds a good amount of suspense and tension. The situations in the film can be related to, as can the main character, he is a normal man with a common life many people lead. Therefore his reactions to certain situations with his family and employer can be easily related to making the viewer subconsciously imagine what they would feel if they were in the drivers seat.Stills Locke 2013 2

It was entertaining to watch as Hardy carries the film (literally) on his own like I have never seen in film and he without question was able to display his wide acting range. The pace of this one was slow but the moments created in it draw enough interest to make you invest in the man character, and to see his journey out with him. This is done with well timed, and extremely well written dialogue. In addition to Hardy, the rest of the cast, through voice overs, were still able to develop chemistry with him despite never being seen. It was something new for me to see in film and I must say, I found it very enjoyable.

In addition to Hardy’s performance the cinematography was excellent as well in this one. Writer/director Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things 2002) was able to make the most out of the singular location inside the vehicle. Director of photography Haris Zambarloukos’ cinematography was excellent. He captured great angles and used beautiful lighting to capture the needed tones and emotions for certain scenes. He also used the reflections of traffic to his advantage and drew from a good cinematic-eye to capture great silent shots as Hardy’s character reacted to the many situations being thrown at him.

Overall I found this to be a surprisingly entertaining film and I thoroughly enjoyed Hardy’s performance. On the downside, given the focus of the film was on a single character and his situation that plays out in real-time, I would have liked to have seen a little more closure added to the ending. I know Knight’s intention was to provoke thought, but this entire film was a detailed timeline of a man going through a stressful night, and for me, the ending seemed too cut-off.

I am not saying I needed it wrapped up with a neat little bow, but given the premise of the script, by building such interest and intrigue into what happens to the character of Locke, a little more substance would have been nice. Not the (figure it out for yourself) or the (it can be what you want) approach to the third-act Knight went with. But in the end this film is without question worth a watch to enjoy the creativity put into the concept of how this story was told.

– Starring –

Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott

– Directed By –

Steven Knight

Time: 85 min

MPAA Rating: R (For language throughout)