Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hardy Makes the Modest "Locke" A Compelling Ride

Locke is a film entirely set in a car.
Locke is 84 minutes in a car with one character who makes a series of phone calls during a long drive to London. That’s it – that’s the extent of the movie – so it's kind of hard to review.

I suppose many people would call the film experimental, but it’s a pretty straightforward domestic drama about a guy who made a mistake and is now paying the piper in an attempt to do the right thing.

Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is foreman who is supposed to be supervising a historically big concrete pour in Birmingham, but has instead decided to travel all the way to London to be with a colleague he knocked up during a one-night stand because she has gone into premature labor. This decision puts him in a perilous situation at with his bosses and work associates, not to mention his wife and kids, all of whom he spends time talking to on the phone during his life-altering drive.

Given the constraints of the plot, the movie hangs entirely on Hardy’s shoulders, and he’s more than up for the task. Although he’s best known for live-wire performances in the likes of Bronson and The Dark Knight Rises, Hardy easily inhabits this regular guy, somehow making Ivan compelling by remaining calm and systematically in control even as his life spins wildly out of control.

Locke is a modest film, the kind that nobody’s bound to put on a top ten list, or much remember five, ten years from now. Although it’s an interesting watch that maintains a palpable tension throughout, it’s mostly a well-done exercise that’s fated to be resume padding for Hardy and writer/director Steven Knight. B-